A group, The Stop Impunity Nigeria Campaign, has written all the registered political parties in Nigeria asking them to ensure that the country witnesses free and fair elections next year.
The general elections hold in February 14 and 28.
In separate letters to the chairmen of the 26 registered political parties, the group asked each of the parties to make a commitment on behalf of their parties “to respect the Laws of Nigeria relating to elections and the maintenance of public order, including relevant rules and regulations as well as the Code of Conduct for Political Parties which your party has subscribed to.”
In the letter signed by Edetaen Ojo, a member of its Steering Committee, the group specifically, it asked each of the parties to, consistent with the Code of Conduct for Political Parties, make commitment that it would “not engage in any violent activity or intimidation of any kind and that it will publicly condemn any form of political violence or intimidation in all its ramifications, including any that may be committed by its members.”
It also asked each party “to refrain from any resort to the use of inflammatory, derogatory or insulting language, provocative actions, images or manifestation that incite violence, hatred, contempt or intimidation against any other party or candidate or any person or group of persons on grounds of ethnicity or gender or for any other reason and that your Party or its candidates will not issue any poster, pamphlet, leaflet or other publication that contain any such incitement.”
It asked each party to ensure that it or group of persons acting in its name “will not obstruct, disrupt, break-up or in any way whatsoever interfere with a meeting, rally, march, demonstration or any campaign activity of any other political party and in addition, that your party or its members will not attempt to obstruct or prevent any person from participating in the activities of any other party.”
The group also asked the parties to separate their business from government businesses and that it would not use public resources of any description for any electioneering campaigns or any other Party business.
It further asked each party to instruct all its members and supporters “not to bring arms or any object that could be used to cause injury to political rallies, meeting, march, demonstration or any other political function and also not to bring any weapon or object that could be used to cause injury to the Polling Station on Election Day.”
The group noted that impunity had clearly become Nigeria’s single biggest problem,” noting that “it provides cover for most of the other ills which plague the country and renders any intervention by governments, civil society organizations and other stakeholders ineffectual.”
It said it was conscious of the fact that the fight against impunity in Nigeria must be a collective effort if it was to succeed.
It enjoined all the parties “to join us in this effort through their public commitments as well as their actions.”