The National Human Rights Commission has reported attempts by thugs to intimidate and buy votes during the general elections conducted on Saturday, February 25, across the federation.
According to The PUNCH, the commission in the report it received through its special monitoring activities on several Polling Units nationwide, stated that there were cases of disruption of voting due to incidents of violence.
The Secretary of the commission, Tony Ojukwu, made this known in a signed preliminary statement of the 2023 presidential and national assembly elections.
He said, “There were various reports of attempts to intimidate voters and INEC officials by party supporters and thugs.
“These reports were received from states such as Rivers, Delta, Lagos, Kogi and Imo. NHRC monitors reported that in 8% of polling units, accreditation and voting were disrupted for various reasons, including the malfunctioning of election equipment and incidents of violence”.
It revealed that vote buying was also reported in 42 locations across the country by its monitors, particularly “in Lagos, Imo, Sokoto, Jigawa, Edo, Nasarawa, Jigawa and Kogi states. Voters were offered money or other incentives to influence their votes”.
The commission also observed the inability of security agencies to intercept violence at the polling units and human rights violations by thugs.
Also in the commission’s report, there was poor crowd management, “in some polling units, the crowd was overwhelming and the security personnel were few in number”.
Earlier, the commission had swung into action in readiness to enforce its mandate of promoting human rights, as it launched the 2023 Election project ‘Mobilising Voters for Election’ to ensure access, participation and accountability in the electoral process.
The MOVE project monitored among others the collection of PVC across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, monitoring of hate speeches and setting up of a National Hate Speech Register.
It also undertook consultations with law enforcement and security agencies and issued guidelines on law enforcement, deploying 800 Human Rights Monitors across the 36 states and the FCT to monitor the exercise of the right to vote and the level of access accorded to Nigerians to exercise these rights.
A Human Rights Situation Room was set up at the Commission’s headquarters to monitor the conduct of the elections and receive complaints of human rights violation from the 36 states and the FCT.