The Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu, has lambasted Catholic priest, Ejike Mbaka, over his comments on President Goodluck Jonathan on New Year eve.
Mr. Odinkalu said the cleric breached the law twice – first in November, when he praised the president and on New Year eve when he condemned the same administration.
He said Mr. Mbaka breached Section 95 sub section 3 (b) of the Electoral Act which states that worship centres, police stations, and public offices shall not be used in the promotion or attack on political parties or candidates, their programmes or ideology.
“What we do not want is Nigeria being wasted by politicians seeking power. We are Nigerians, not savages; we are going to do an election not war,” Mr. Odinkalu said.
Mr. Odinkalu also condemned the Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, for placing a newspaper advert suggesting the death Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, if voted into office.
The head of the Human Rights commission said the ad was clearly in breach of the Electoral Act.
He said the Mr. Fayose failed his people with his advert.
Mr. Odinkalu said all Nigerians must cooperate to ensure the 2011 post-election violence does not reoccur.
“People from Kano and Katsina may not vote in governorship elections in Ekiti but people from Kano and Katsina vote in presidential elections,” he said.
He also noted that one of the past Head of States, Murtala Muhammed, mentioned in Mr. Fayose’s advert did not just die but was assassinated. He said Nigerians must be humane as such referencing could incite violence and is unfair to family members.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of the commission, Bem Angwe, encouraged the media to abide by its code of ethics and professionalism.
He also called on social media users and bloggers to desist from using their platforms to fan disunity, tension or incite violence before, during and after the elections.
“There is going to be no form of immunity against any form of hate speech,” Mr. Angwe said.
The National Human Rights Commission said it will set up an Election Violence Incidence Centre, that will help prevent, mitigate and hold politicians and all Nigerians accountable against hate speeches that could incite violence before, during and after the 2015 general election.
The centre, led by Tony Ojukwu, will open 23 offices to track hate speech incidences in Nigeria. The center will also have an election advisory on hate speeches and violence, release a post-election report on such as well as make available to the public a list of persons indicted.