By Ikenna Asomba
Lagos—Coalition of civil society groups under the umbrella of Say No Campaign Nigeria, SNCN, yesterday, took a swipe at the peace accord signed on Wednesday, January 14, in Abuja, by the 14 presidential candidates in the February 14 presidential election.
The rights group argued that the peace bond tagged Abuja Declaration Accord, and signed by the presidential candidates was unnecessary, as it does not supersede the constitution and laws of the country, such as the Electoral Offences Act, which stipulates punitive measures for breach of peace in elections.
Speaking at a rally to advocate for a violent-free 2015 election, in Ikeja, Lagos, Convener of SNCN, Mr. Ezenwa Nwagwu, said: “A ceremony of signing peace accord in Abuja can never take over the existing laws of this country. Our laws are very clear on hate speeches. We have laws called Electoral Offences. So, a ceremony where people sign a peace pact can not make the law work.
“Anybody who breaches the law should be made to face the wrath of the law. I don’t think an accord can settle that. An accord can not settle the fact that someone’s house was burnt. When someone’s house is burnt, that is arson according to our law and it has its own punitive measures. If someone is beaten mercilessly, that is battery and assault, and our laws have punitive measures for this crime. For the fact that an accord has been signed does not mean people should go about misbehaving.
Similarly, Comrade Ibuchukwu Ezike, Executive Director, Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO and Coordinator, Say No Campaign Nigeria, Lagos axis who stated that violence-ridden elections have led to civil war in several countries said: “We are sending this important message to the Nigerian people to educate them that electoral violence has all over the world, led to the killing of people and the burning of their properties, which eventually led to civil war. We don’t want such scenario to happen in this country. ”