Sunday, April 24, 2011

Nigerian SERAP Calls for United Nations Probe Into Post-Election Violence

Post-election Violence: SERAP Calls for UN Probe

By Vincent Obia
Nigeria ThisDay
24 Apr 2011

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has called for an urgent United Nations fact-finding mission to Nigeria to probe the violence and killings that followed the April 16 presidential election in some parts of the country.

In a letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, dated April 21,2011 and signed by SERAP’s executive director, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni, the human rights non-governmental organisation said the probe was necessary “to identify state and non-state actors, including leaders of political parties, who are either complicit or directly responsible for the violence and killings and to send their names to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court for prosecution.”

The group also wants the UN to “speak out and publicly condemn the violence and killings, and ask the Nigerian government and leaders of political parties to show responsibility and ensure full respect for the human rights of the citizens, including the right to life, to human security and property, to participation and development.”

SERAP said it was incumbent on Nigeria and Nigerians to observe every human rights stipulation to the letter since the country is a member of the Human Rights Council and has ratified several UN human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women; and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

About 300 people, including members of the National Youth Service Corps, have been killed and several thousands injured and displaced in northern Nigeria since violence broke out following the presidential election in which sitting President Goodluck Jonathan of Peoples Democratic Party defeated candidate of Congress for Progressive Change and former military Head of State, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari[rtd].

“We are seriously concerned about the recurring violence and killings and the associated human rights violations, including the right to life, human security, right to property, right to participation and development,” SERAP stated.

“We are also concerned that the violence and killings may slow the consolidation of democracy and good governance in the country, and contribute to further denial of the citizens’ internationally recognised human rights, including economic and social rights.”

“The lack of accountability for the violence and killings has reached a crisis point; the ongoing lack of justice for the victims is undermining the credibility of the electoral process. We believe that unpunished violence and killings makes it difficult for fair, free and transparent elections, let alone longer-term democratic processes that can guarantee respect for human rights, to take root and function properly.”

SERAP doubted the capacity of the government and the political leaders to deal with the deteriorating security and human rights situation, saying a UN visit to Nigeria would send a strong message to those stoking the embers of violence that they would be held responsible for their actions.

Meanwhile, the federal government has stepped up security in Kaduna and other northern states ahead of this week’s governorship, state assembly and postponed National Assembly elections, after a bomb blast in Kaduna on Friday that killed four people.

“We are deploying more of our men in the troubled areas. We have noted the flash points and we are going to take particular attention to those. We will be more alert after the election,” Nigeria Police spokesman, Olusola Amore, told AFP.

Spokesman of the Kaduna State Police Command, Aminu Lawan, was quoted by AFP as saying a man was killed in Kaduna when a bomb he was assembling exploded. Three of the deceased’s colleagues survived with serious injuries, he said.

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