Jos – The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), on Tuesday in Jos, began public hearing on hate speeches and electoral violence, witnessed during and after the 2015 general elections in North-Central states.
Mrs Oti Ovrawah, the NHRC’s Acting Executive Secretary, who declared the event open, said the public hearing was necessitated by a myriad of complaints received by the commission against persons or parties.
Ovrawah said that those people and parties were alleged to have been involved in promoting hate speech and electoral violence.
According to her, the public hearing is also to deepen Nigeria’s democracy and promote issue based campaigns, as against speeches that would divide Nigerians and engender electoral violence.
“As you are aware, reports of violent incidents and the spread of hate and dangerous messages were widely recorded in the events that preceded the 2015 general elections.
“Hate speeches and electoral violence have become more frequent in the past because there was no political will to hold the perpetrators accountable.
“So the essence of this public hearing is to seek for accountability, where there is evidence that any person has been involved in hate speeches and election related violence in relation to 2015 elections.
“This is also to deepen our democracy and encourage election campaigns that would be based on issues rather than the use of hate speeches capable of causing election violence,” she said.
The acting Executive Secretary added that the exercise would ensure better future elections that would be devoid of rancour and hate speeches.
She explained that the hearing would be based on complaints received and the preliminary investigations and analyses already carried out by the commission.
Ovrawah noted that those, who would be indicted at the hearing would be recommended to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice for prosecution.
“In addition to this, a register of persons involved in hate speeches and election violence will be opened to serve as a reference point in future election related matters,” she added.
She enjoined all parties involved to ensure a hitch-free exercise.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that similar exercise will be held in other geo-political zones across the country. (NAN)
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