The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) has raised the alarm over what it described as the spate of avoidable deaths caused due to stampedes that occurred during election campaign rallies organised by political parties in the days leading to the 2019 general elections.
The group noted that several people were killed in a stampede on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 during a political campaign rally organised by the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), which took place in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
It added that on January 8, 2019, violent clashes between members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers and party supporters marred the inauguration of the campaign of the Lagos State APC gubernatorial candidate, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in Ikeja.
According to CDHR, these reported cases of violence are deeply disturbing. “: By virtue of the provisions of Section 33 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the fundamental human right to life of every person is protected. No election campaign is worth spilling the blood of innocent Nigerians who are expressing their support for their political candidate by simply exercising their fundamental right to assemble freely, associate with other persons and belong to any political party for the protection of their interests as provided for by Section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
“Rather than only render apologies for these unfortunate deaths, the CDHR demands tangible attempts must be made by government at all levels to ensure that such avoidable loss of lives does not occur in any future political campaign rally organised in Nigeria. The people deserve the right to be able to gather for such political events with peace of mind knowing that their security is taken to be of paramount importance.”