Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said that the inability of authorities in Nigeria to properly prosecute electoral offenders in previous elections and the government’s failure to address the security challenges threaten the forthcoming 2023 general election.
HRW is an international non-governmental organization with headquarters in New York City in the United States conducts research and advocacy on human rights across over 100 countries in the world.
Nigeria’s 2023 elections will hold on Saturday 25 February where the electorates will choose a successor to President Muhammadu Buhari whose tenure ends May 29th this year, as well as the members of the National Assembly.
March 11th, the voters are also expected to return to their voting stations to choose state governors and State legislators.
However, there have been a series of security threats regarding the elections from various groups across the country, including bandits in the northwest and the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the southeast, who vowed to cripple the exercise.
Nigerian elections are characterized by disputes and other electoral violence, leading to the loss of lives and destruction of property, and the perpetrators mostly go unpunished.
Human Rights Watch recalled that the 2015 election which gave Buhari victory as the first candidate of the opposition party to win the country’s election was the only one seen to be relatively peaceful.
It maintained that there was some controversy in the 2019 election, including using security forces to threaten voters and political operatives who work for politicians and the culprits were not prosecuted to face the wrath of the law.
The organisation explained that the habit encourages prospective criminals to persist wreaking havoc in every election with such impunity.