AHEAD of the March 18 governorship election in Lagos State, civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has tasked the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno to curb electoral violence in the state which has been identified as a flashpoint for political thugs and ethnic jingoist in the trade of flaming the embers of tribal sentiments to ignite disunity and violence.
HURIWA, in a statement on Wednesday by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, also condemned attacks on Igbo traders and their markets in Lagos because of their staunch support for Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi and the governorship candidate in the state, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour.
The group maintained that all Nigerians regardless of their tribe or religion are constitutionally entitled to vote for whoever they choose and prefer in any election without being threatened, intimidated or harassed.
HURIWA said the National Security Adviser and security agencies especially the Nigeria Police Force have a duty to protect all voters and shield them from intimidation and attacks by aggressors and thugs as seen during the February 25 presidential and National Assembly polls where LP supporters were attacked in Lagos for voting Peter Obi who won in the state ruled by the All Progressives Congress.
The group also vowed to drag ethnic jingoists and those whipping tribal sentiments to frustrate Igbo traders in Lagos due to their choice of LP candidates to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands over crimes against humanity.
Recall that goods worth millions of naira have been destroyed in a fire incident that occurred at Akere Spare Parts Market, Ajegunle in the Apapa area of Lagos just last week. Over 200 shops were burnt in the suspected arson where the attackers killed a security guard at the market during the midnight onslaught.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The political violence targeting non-indigenous Igbo traders residing in Lagos by political thugs is condemnable in all its entirety. No Nigerian deserves to be persecuted for their political choice or their preferred candidates.
“The NSA and service chiefs should immediately direct their operatives to different all groups living in Lagos or elsewhere to forestall politically motivated attacks in the March 18 governorship poll.
“Also, the political thugs arrested during the presidential poll in Lagos and other places must be immediately prosecuted and punished.
“Political leaders and ethnic champions whipping tribalism to ignite violence will be reported to the ICC should they continue to threaten voters whom they want to compel to vote for their own candidate.
“Saturday election must be devoid on violence or else Nigerians are advised to protect themselves lawfully with legally permissible weapons during the election so nobody is killed by thugs.”