Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari and 36 state governors to ensure people’s rights to hold rallies.
In a statement, the group wants the President and governors to “publicly instruct the Nigeria police and state security outfits to respect, protect, and facilitate the rights of everyone to freedom of expression, assembly, association, and equal participation during the election campaigns, regardless of their party affiliation.”
SERAP deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, who signed the statement on Sunday, warned against the police being used by state governors to target supporters of opposition parties and those holding differing political views. He cited reports, raising concerns about the lack of a level playing field.
According to the group, police operatives in Ebonyi State recently dispersed hundreds of supporters of the Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi who gathered for a rally in Abakaliki, alleging that Obi has also condemned the attack and intimidation of the party’s supporters.
“Facilitating the rights of supporters of political parties to hold rallies and processions on an equal basis would promote public confidence in the integrity of the democratic process,” the statement read.