Amnesty International Nigeria has called on security agencies to respect the rights of citizens and be professional in discharging their duties during the February 25 and March 11 elections and accused the proscribed separatist group, IPOB, of using scare tactics to disenfranchise Igbos and other Nigerians in the South-East.
Auwal Rafsanjani, chairman of the organisation’s board of trustees, stated this while commemorating World Social Justice Day and a farewell ceremony for the country director of AIN, Osai Ojigho, in Abuja.
“I am calling on the security to ensure that they maintain professionalism, neutralism, courtesy, be unbiased, and ensure that they do not allow themselves to be bought by politicians,” he said.
According to him, the actions of security agents during the elections will be monitored by many organisations locally and globally.
Mr Rafsanjani expressed concern about the activities of non-state actors threatening the conduct of the elections.
“The non-state actors, particularly the IPOB who have declared that for three days they will totally lock down the South-East, make a lot of people to be afraid to go and vote. So clearly, there might be some absence of people coming to cast their votes,” said Amnesty International.
It added that in other parts of the country, “the way politicians are preaching violence is equally of great concern that peace-loving Nigerians, especially persons with disabilities, may not be able to go and vote.”
Mr Rafsanjani said there was a need to nip these challenges in the bud to guarantee credible elections.
According to him, injustice remains the root cause of most problems in Nigeria.
“Injustice is a fundamental challenge that is affecting everything in the country. So, until we are able to deal with issues of social justice in this country, it will be difficult for Nigerians to realize their potential to compete favourably (and) participate in (the) governance process,” added Mr Rafsanjani