..harp on collection of PVCs

By Frederick Peters, KADUNA.

NEWSDAILYNIGERIA: The National Human Rights Commission, Kaduna and Joint initiative For strategic Religious Action,( JISRA) on tuesday, paid a courtesy visit to the New INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Kaduna state to ensure peaceful and credible elections come 2023.

Speaking on the visit the New Resident Electoral. Commissioner, (REC) Kaduna, Dr. Mahmuda Isah, said the essence” is to make sure that we have free, fair and credible elections, which is the agenda of the commission; the commission’s mandate is to conduct election that is free, fair and credible and acceptable to both local and international community

” so they NGOs and Human rights commission that came, are here, in view of the fact that they want to ensure that we are legally compliant with what is required by the law”

Kaduna REC ( middle) during the presentation of JISRA brief and IECs to him.

According to him, they observed that, “we must make sure that people exercise their rights without any threats, all rights guaranteed in the election must be protected and we assured them that during and after the 2023 general elections, we will ensure that we guarantee people’s rights as given by the Nigerian constitution

” There would be no fears by the people in the field of elections as no voter would be disenfranchised in any way and that people’s right must be respected both gender, religious and whatever should be respected during the election and you know we are out for that

” we are for the 18 political parties, we are for all gender, male and female, we are for all irrespective of religious persuasions and we must ensure that this election is conducted peaceful and whatever is needed under the law we will comply with it and remember, we have the international community watching at us” he added.

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He assured the group that the commission would be fair to all without discriminating against gender or people with disability owing to the fact that commission operates a gender desk at the commission’s offices to deal with such issues.

On the issue of PVC collection, he said the commission has a criteria for collection, ” there’s no collection of PVC by proxy, you must come yourself and collect it” .While clarifying the issues of hate speech, vote buying and fakenews, said ” at INEC we don’t buy votes and we don’t sell votes, vote buying is even a crime, so we don’t encourage that and we make sure that our people in the field do not give room for that and we are working hard to make sure that we do the right thing” he assured

While. expressing satiafaction with courtesy visit, the REC, said,”. This the first formal meeting by civil society organisations, you know that you are very important in the process of election, and we are happy to have you;, you know, you are in the field and we too are in the field, so you are our supporting pillars in the process of election, so we are happy to have you and we must ensure that elections are conducted peacefully,” he reiterated

The state coordinator National Human Rights commission, Kaduna state office, Dr Terngu gwar, said the primary purpose of the courtesy visit is to promote the right to participation, the right for Nigerians to participate in the electoral process, the right to vote and be voted for, “so we are here to meet with Hon. commissioner to make sure that the right of every one to participate fully in the 2023 general elections is protected, promoted and is also enforced

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” one of the primary objectives of the commission is to monitor the PVCs collection under the mobilization for voter’s education, that’s why the commission has form a project called “MOVE” Mobilizing voters for election, so we are here to intimate the Hon. commissioner about this project and to also see for collaboration or partnership to make sure that people are able to collect their permanent voter’s cards at their locations,

” if there are hitches the commission will be able to know their challenges and be able to work with INEC to see how these challenges can be resolved, so that people’s willingness to participate in the election will not have problems or chalenges.”

While expressing satisfaction with the open reception during the visit and willingness by the INEC commissioner, especially with ” the contact of electoral officers across the 23 local government areas, and he has agreed to provide them to us, so that we can be working with them across the 23 LGA to monitor the rate of PVC collections,

” so it has been successful and we hope to do more with INEC office in Kaduna, to make sure that people’s rights to participate in this 2023 election is protected and also enforced”.he stressed

Similarly, the Advocacy Officer for TEARFUND/ leader for the lobby Advocacy and communication working groups for Joint initiative for Strategic Religious action (JISRA), Mr Reuben Emmanuel hinted on the joint visit with NHRC to the INEC, ” the National human rights commission is a strategic partner of JISRA and we have been working with them closely, in fact the are part of what we call the ‘country steering committee”

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“we have written to INEC to visit, but since we have a strategic partnership with NHRC, we thought it will be good for us to build a coalition and pay a visit at the same time, because we have the same stand point concerning the election

” so we have a focus of preventing electoral violence along religious lines, so because we have been working with faith communities, faith leaders, traditional leaders, women leaders and youth leaders, we are bringing them together, 

“because we understand that if you have a unique partnership of these category of persons you will be able to curb electoral violence in  every local community, especially the parts that we are implementing the JISRA project.(  Kaduna and Plateau states).

He said the visit has been helpful and commendable ” the commission has been able to open their doors to accept all of us, it was also strategic for us, because the commissioner mentioned that since he was appointed in this position it was this visit that has been most fulfilling for him, 

“and that was really commendable and we felt elated and felt that he has a open door policy and  will give us his maximum support and cooperation, we were happy that he listened to us because he took note of  the issues and concerns that we tabled”

He  further said the visit afforded them the opportunity to be a voice of the vioceless and vulnerable before the election having sampled the positions of stakeholders at a just concluded training workshop for traditional, religious, women and youth leaders in Kaduna.

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