The National Human Rights Commission said on Tuesday that 58 persons have died in election violence across the country between December 3, 2014 and January 31.
This is contained in the commission’s 80-page pre-election report and advisory on violence in Nigeria’s 2015 general elections, which was presented on Friday.
The Chairman, Governing Council of the commission, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, while highlighting the content of the report, noted that the 58 deaths had resulted from 49 election related violence across 22 states in the country.
Executive Secretary of the commission, Prof. Bem Angwe, said the report , which is also an advisory to the government and key political actors, was part of the responsibilities of the NHRC in protecting the rights of Nigerians.
With 11 incidents resulting in 22 deaths, Lagos topped the list of states with the most devastating record of election-related violence within the period surveyed.
Kaduna State, which is next, recorded three incidents resulting in nine deaths. Gombe State recorded three incidents resulting in five deaths; Taraba, one incident, four deaths; Ogun two incidents, four deaths; Bayelsa, once incident, three deaths; Akwa Ibom, two incidents, three deaths; and Kano, two incidents, two deaths.
The report indicated that the South-West geo-political zone has recorded the highest number of 28 deaths resulting from election-related violence within the same period. It is followed by North-West, with 11 deaths; North-East, nine deaths; South-South, eight deaths; and South-East, two deaths.
But the report said thousands were injured across all the six geo-political zones within the period.
Odinkalu, who lamented the degree of losses arising from election violence in the country, called on Nigerians to stop tarnishing the name of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
He said if the attitude of tarnishing INEC and its Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, was not stopped it could serve as further cause of election violence in the country.
He said, “Let’s stop tarnishing INEC. The political parties, citizens, social media people should stop it. Tarnishing INEC can guarantee electoral violence.
“There are few Nigerians, who will accept INEC Chairmanship and bring in the level of integrity he (Jega) has brought to the job.
“He (Jega) is a human being. He is not perfect. But, you know what? He has a wife, he’s got children, he’s got grandchildren, he’s got students, who went through him and he is a decent man.
“He is not a thief, he is not a rogue. He wants to do the best work he can and we’ve got to support him. And we don’t support him alone, we should support his team.”
He also said the commission was working on a plan to get President Goodluck Jonathan, who is the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, and the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari to address Nigerians on the need for them to eschew violence in the forthcoming polls.
He said the presidential candidates would pass the message in a joint recording which would be circulated to Nigerians through their telephones.