21 April 2017

Nigeria: NHRC Probes Hate Speech, Electoral Violence During 2015 Polls

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has said it received 153 complaints on hate speech and election-related violence during the 2015 general election.

The commission also said its investigation team would travel across the country to carry out public hearings on the petitions.

A statement by the commission said the Acting Executive Secretary, Mrs. Oti Ovrawah, disclosed this at the inaugural meeting of a committee set up to investigate the complaints.

She said the commission was ready to investigate the complaints with the aim of bringing those culpable to justice.

She said the commission would where necessary, exercise the duty to seek criminal indictment, punishment and accountability if it finds evidence indicating that any person was involved in hate speeches and election-related violence in relation to the 2015 elections, as well as other subsequent elections.

Ovrawah noted that substantiated complaints of hate speeches and election-related violence would be subjected to public hearing across the states of the federation to enable indicted persons defend themselves.

According to her, the investigations would have a positive influence in the forthcoming 2019 general election.

She said the investigation had become necessary in view of the clamour for the establishment of an Election Offences Commission.

In his remarks, the Project Coordinator and Director, Monitoring in the commission, Mr. Tony Ojukwu, assured Nigerians that the commission would be bold and courageous as it has always been in naming and recommending for prosecution those found culpable of hate speeches and election-related violence.

He also stated that the complaints on hate speeches and election-related violence spread across the six geo-political zones of the country.

He said the investigations would take place between April 24 and 27.

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