The Nigerian opposition party also asked for implementation of the Lemu report.
The Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) has challenged the Nigeria Police Force to account for the 5,356 Nigerians it arrested during and after the 2011 general elections for various electoral offences and post election violence.
The party also urged Nigerians to demand the full implementation of the report of the Ahmed Lemu committee on the violence that trailed the general elections in some parts of the country.
The Federal Government had on May 11, 2011 set up a 22-member committee led by Ahmed Lemu to investigate the post-election violence in Nigeria, particularly in the northern part.
The committee submitted its report on October 10, 2011with some far-reaching recommendations.
The CPC recalled that while the committee was sitting, the police claimed at a public forum that altogether 5,356 people were arrested, out of the figure, 2,341 were arrested before the polls while 3,015 were apprehended for post-electoral violence.
It wondered what happened to the alleged culprits about two years after.
“The poser is: What has happened to those apprehended by the Police for perpetrating this heinous crime against humanity? Left off the hook? Remanded in police custody? Being prosecuted in a court of law? Nigerians need to know,” the party said in a statement on Sunday by its spokesperson, Rotimi Fashakin.
CPC said the release of the report of the Lemu Committee could deepen democracy in Nigeria, saying “As a Party, we call on the Nigerian people to demand the implementation of this report without any further delay. It is in so doing that true democratic values shall be deepened in the Nigerian polity.”
The panel reportedly identified existing widespread desire by the people for change, as a result of the parlous state of the nation’s infrastructure and legitimized culture of impunity caused by some leaders since 1999 and by previous governments, as a major cause of violence in the country.
It also recommended the setting up of an Electoral Offences Tribunal.
CPC admitted that in May, 2012 – more than seven months after submission of the Lemu report,
the PDP-led Federal Government adopted the recommendation for the establishment of Special Electoral Offences’ Tribunal as part of its implementation.
It, however, said, “It is more than nine months after the release of the white-paper, and there is absolutely nothing to show that this very important endeavour is being pursued with pertinacious vigour.”
While asking if there is any hope that the report would be implemented, the CPC claimed that after the violence, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) made desperate efforts to demonise its national leader, Muhammadu Buhari, first by hiring Reuben Abati to disseminate unfounded piece of disinformation about him (Buhari) then in his column in The Guardian Newspapers, after which he was rewarded with the position of Senior Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity.
The opposition party also alleged that the panel was constituted as a way of giving “legal and institutional impetus to its propagandist scheme.”
It alleged in the statement that:
“The Jonathan regime did not really intend to unearth the truth about the post-election violence in 2011 but sought to use the eminent Nigerians in the Lemu Panel as pawns to be used to indict CPC and its leader, GMB! (General Muhammadu Buhari).
“The Jonathan regime, being the greatest beneficiary of the anomalous electoral system in 2011, is unwilling to make fundamental changes that will truly give sovereignty to the Nigerian people.
“The PDP will be unwilling to support any sustainable, expeditious trial of electoral offences because electoral manipulations and infractions have become the reason for its tenacious hold on political power in these thirteen years.”