NHRC set to probe hate speech, electoral violence during 2015 polls


Two years after the 2015 polls, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday disclosed that it received a total of 153 complaints relating to hate speech and election-related violence for the general election.

The commission said that though it was yet to examine the merits of the petitions two years after they were filed, it however disclosed that it had set up an investigation team that would travel across the country to carry out public hearings on the petitions.

A statement by the commission said  the Acting Executive Secretary, Mrs. Oti Ovrawah, disclosed this at the inaugural meeting of a committee set up to investigate the complaints.

She said the commission was ready to investigate the complaints with the aim of bringing those culpable to justice.

She said the commission would where necessary, exercise the duty to seek criminal indictment, punishment and accountability if it finds evidence indicating that any person was involved in hate speeches and election-related violence in relation to the 2015 elections, as well as other subsequent elections.

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Ovrawah  noted that substantiated complaints of hate speeches and election-related violence would be subjected to public hearing across the states of the federation to enable indicted persons defend themselves.

According to her, the investigations would have a positive influence in the forthcoming 2019 general election.

She said the investigation had become necessary in view of the clamour for  the establishment of an Election Offences Commission.

In his remarks, the Project Coordinator and Director, Monitoring in the commission, Mr. Tony Ojukwu, assured Nigerians that the commission would be bold and courageous as it has always been in naming and recommending for prosecution those found culpable of hate speeches and election-related violence.

He also stated that the complaints on hate speeches and election-related violence spread across the six geo-political zones of the country.

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He said the investigations would take place between April 24 and 27.