By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja
AHEAD of the 2023 general elections, the International Human Rights Commission, IHRC, on Thursday threatened to expose and charge to International Criminal Court, ICC, political parties that will engage in voter suppression during the polls.
The global rights body issued the threat in Abuja during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Inter-party Advisory Council, IPAC, on the protection and rights of Nigerians during elections
Speaking IHRC’s Head of Diplomatic Missions in Nigeria, Dr. Duru Hezekiah, explained that Nigerians must be guaranteed the freedom to express their franchise without hindrance and intimidation from any quarter.
“I know by this MoU, we are going to make Nigeria a better place because we want Nigerians to be given freedom to express their franchise without hindrance. Any one involved in any form of violation of human rights during the election will be exposed,” he said.
To buttress the rationale behind the MoU signing, the Head of IHRC African Diplomatic Missions, Dr. Friday Sani, stated that the Commission’s Secretary-General is an arbitration judge in the ICC, which makes it easier for the organisation to charge issues of gross violation of rights by any political party to the court.
He said: “I have also observed there are areas that were not contemplated in Electoral Act, an example is in the area where voters are deprived from even coming to the polling unit to cast their vote.
“We are going to beam our searchlight on all polling units in Nigeria, and I bet with you that with our secretary-general who is an arbitration judge in the ICC, It can never be business as usual.”
According to him, the idea is to monitor the situations before, during and after the election.
Earlier, IPAC Chairman, Yabagi Sani said the Council stands for protection and advancement of democracy in Nigeria.
He added that the signing of the MoU would ensure that IPAC was on same page with the commission in the fight against human right violations during elections.