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SERAP wants governments to protect rights of Nigerians during campaigns

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project SERAP, wants the federal and state governments to direct the Police and other security agencies to protect and respect the rights of the citizens to freedom of expression and assembly during elections campaign regardless of their political affiliation..

In a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, SERAP,s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare says there are apprehensions from some sections alleging that there have been inequality in playing ground for campaigns.

The letter also urged state governors and politicians not to use the police to intimidate supporters of opposition parties as well as those who have different views from their own.

”there are concerns about the lack of a level playing field. The police in Ebonyi State recently dispersed hundreds of supporters of the Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi who gathered for a rally in Abakaliki. Mr Obi has also condemned the attack and intimidation of the party’s supporters.” SERAP noted

The letter explained that public trust in government and integrity in democratic practices could only be attained if the rights of citizens are guaranteed.

According to SERAP, “the right to participate meaningfully and equally in the political and electoral processes including to hold rallies, processions or meetings during the campaigns is part and parcel of any system of representative government.”

It said the organization would seek legal actions to ensure all rights of citizens violated are accounted for.

SERAP said promoting the right of every Nigerian to hold rallies, processions or meetings in any state of the country, during the election campaigns is essential to the growth of the nation’s democracy.

Writing by Oluwaseyi Ajibade; editing by Annabel Nwachukwu