Citing the legal doctrine of vicarious liability, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has advised the staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) who suffered various degrees of injuries during the last presidential election to demand N100 million each from the electoral body.
The electoral commission, had on Friday admitted that some of the staff, both permanent and ad hoc, who were deployed for the election were brutalised.
Some were raped, while fatalities were also recorded, according to INEC’s national commissioner for information and voter education, Festus Okoye in a press statement.
“The Commission condoles with the families of its ad-hoc staff who lost their lives while on this national assignment, as well as other Nigerians who died in the course of the elections,” Okoye had added and pledged that the commission would “rectify the identified challenges before the elections on March 9.”
To the rights group, the admission by INEC that it failed to protect its staff is a wrong that must not go without redress.
It therefore asked the electoral body to stop the blame game and “carry its cross appropriately.”
It also asked INEC to face the reality of what the management team created when it allegedly decided to affiliate itself with reactionary forces to destroy democracy through the active manipulation of the election which, according to it, “is the worst electoral robbery of modern times.”
The rights group, in a statement issued by its co-ordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, demanded that INEC cough out compensation packages of at least N100 million to each of the INEC staff who suffered all kinds of deprivations and physical violence during the polls or be prepared to meet the victims in court.
HURIWA also accused INEC of sponsoring “amorphous and discredited groups” to attack critics of the irregularities that it believes “trailed the badly managed February 23rd 2019 Presidential and National Assembly’s Elections.”
The group stressed that it does not need the cash of the leading opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or of its candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar “to clearly respond to the groundswell of evidential facts showing without any shadow of doubts that INEC robbed candidates of the Peoples Democratic party to reach a premeditated conclusion in the corruptly choreographed Presidential and congressional polls. ”
HURIWA recalled that it also praised President Muhammadu Buhari just before the elections for vowing to allow free and fair elections and wondered why such protesters never accused it of working for the President or the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) that time. The group also recalled that it openly backed the candidacy of the APC’s Orji Uzor Kalu for Abia North Senate seat but also wondered where these “mushroom groups” were when that open endorsement was extensively reported in the media.
HURIWA means well for Nigeria and Nigerians and has for years become “the beacon of hope and a reliable pro-democracy torchbearer in the country that is going through tough times in the hands of a cabal that is determined to enslave our people in perpetuity for their own feudal and commercial benefits,” the group said.
Drawing a parallel between the report of rape of staff and the manner the last election was conducted, HURIWA stated: “INEC is like a kettle calling pot black by accusing security forces of sexual violations of their staff which in any event are despicable,” insisting that the alleged “mishandling of the last election was a clear rape of democracy and electoral robbery of phenomenal proportions.”
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