By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, yesterday, bemoaned the fact that not less than fifty persons were killed during and after last Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections.
However, the commission, via a statement it issued in Abuja yesterday, commended Nigerians for refusing to be intimidated or discouraged by operational and logistical hiccups that trailed the election in various parts of the country.
The statement was signed by the Chairman, Governing Council of NHRC, Professor Chidi Odinkalu.
The commission noted that there had been incidents, reports and allegations of various forms of violence, including some reported attacks by extremists in some parts of North-Eastern Nigeria, which it said was designed to frustrate the electoral process.
It said that varying acts of violence, which resulted in fatalities were reported in Akwa Ibom, Borno, Bauchi, Edo, Gombe, Lagos, Osun, Rivers, and Yobe states.
It said: ”At the end of yesterday, the number of persons reported killed in these attacks and incidents is over 50.
“This number includes one state legislator, a community leader and two ad hoc election staff of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, allegedly killed in an extremist attack in Gombe State, as well as the killing of an officer of the Nigerian Armed Forces in Rivers State.
“There were also reported cases of injuries from politically-motivated violence in Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Lagos, and Kano states as well as allegations of snatching of ballot boxes, card readers and related election materials in some states, including Akwa Ibom, Benue, Gombe, Imo, Niger and Rivers states.”
It stressed that there were also isolated but very worrying reports of arson attacks on assets of INEC and that of Police in some parts of the Niger Delta.
It blamed the incidents on widespread availability of small arms and light weapons in some parts of the country, especially in parts of Akwa Ibom, Imo, Delta, Rivers, and Benue states.