By Tobi Soniyi
The National Human Rights Commission has issued an advisory to all the political parties and their supporters involved in this Saturday’s re-run election in Rivers state to play by the rules and refrain from engaging in acts capable of undermining the electoral process.
In a statement released in Abuja, the Executive Secretary of the commission, Prof. Bem Angwe, warned that the commission would, in exercise of its statutory mandate seek criminal indictment, prosecution and punishment of any person or party involved in election violence.
Angwe called on the leaders of the political parties to ensure that their members and supporters were made aware of the implications of participating in electoral violence including incitements, attacks and destruction of properties adding that perpetrators of such acts would bear criminal responsibility for the violent acts.
The commission called on the security agencies to take necessary steps to ensure that voters were protected and the fundamental freedoms including the right to choose freely who represented them were guaranteed.
The commission noted with concern, the pattern and intensity of the pre-election campaign messages in Rivers state which it said was unnecessarily heating up the political system and threatening the peace and security of the people.
Angwe said: “For the avoidance of doubt the commission will deploy monitors during the elections and will not hesitate to apply the full weight of the law on such criminal elements under national and international law.”