CDD, YIAGA, PER, Demands Voting Right For Internally Displaced Persons
Civil Society Organisations comprising of Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD, Partner for Electoral Reform,PER and Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement, YIAGA, yesterday, staged a peaceful protest in Abuja, demanding for credible and all inclusive elections in 2015.
In a joint statement signed by the three groups, they noted that 2015 elections is a defining moment in Nigeria’s democracy and the growing division instigated by the political class, hate speeches and rising threats of violence, and the likelihood of disenfranchising Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), are issues that needs to addressed by stakeholders to ensure credible 2015 elections and prevent reoccurrence of the 2011 post-election violence.
While speaking on behalf of the other participating organisations at the office of National Human Right Commission, Hassan Idayat, Director of CDD, highlighted the concerns of the citizenry as regards what NHRC would be doing to ensure Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, provides security for the ad-hoc staff, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members and students before, during and after the 2015 Elections.
The protesters demand, “The immediate resolution of all issues emanating from the Permanent Voters Card Distribution and the Continuous Voter Registration exercise to prevent against the disenfranchisement of eligible voters.
“That mechanisms should be put in place by INEC, National Assembly and other agencies to ensure the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) can vote in 2015 and level playing field for all political actors including equal access to media, security, campaign venues etc.”
The group also demands that Politicians and state actors should be held accountable and penalised for the spread of hate speeches and inciting statements by relevant authorities.
Responding to the demands from the group, the Representative of NHRC and Director of Security and Investigation, NHRC, Abdulraman Yakub, noted that elections is everybody’s business and that the commission is in support of the groups’ protest and all Nigerian citizens interested in making sure Nigeria works.
“Coming to the issue of election, you should know that the right to public participation is a right guaranteed by the Nigerian constitution and also a right that is acknowledged and recognised by the international community and Nigeria is a party to all the relevant international human rights instruments which guarantee the rights of every citizen to take part in public life which include the rights to vote and be voted for.”
He stated that NHRC has been working assiduously over the years to ensure that in Nigeria, we have open, transparent and credible election.
“The commission has been monitoring elections and the conduct of security personnel to ensure that they comply by the constitution and all well known human right instruments,” he said.
He stated further that the commission is talking to necessary stakeholders particularly INEC and security personnel to ensure security for the electorates, the electoral personnels and the citizens in general.
“The governing council of the commission have mapped out strategies on how to go about this, so the commission is discussing with all relevant stakeholders, governmental and non-governmental to ensure we have an election that is devoid of violence. On the IDPS, we are talking to INEC to ensure that those who are displaced would also take part in the elections.”
The peaceful march according to the organiser, would signal the launching of a sustained engagement on issued-based politics tagged #VotingForWhat. The campaign seeks that candidates seeking the votes of electorates must engage citizens based on issues not ethnicity or religion.
The awareness campaign that was done across Abuja and terminated at Bhuari Area Council was led by Head of Research, Policy & Advocacy, YIAGA, Samson Itodo.
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