The general elections in Nigeria, now billed to hold on March 28 and April 11 is almost here, and the tension in the air is almost palpable.
In the days running to the elections, Rivers State alone has recorded the death of over 20 people. According to the state's commissioner for health, Dr Samson Parker, 41 casualties were treated for gunshot injuries while 26 people were treated for machete wounds; creating an epidemic for the health sector to manage. The state has also borne the brunt of several bomb blasts with many deaths occurring during clashes between members of different political parties going unreported.
Professor Chidi Odinkalu, Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has identified Lagos, Kaduna and Rivers states as flashpoints for post-election violence in 2015. During the 2011 post-election violence, 943 persons were confirmed dead officially with over 80 percent of the victims from southern Kaduna. He disclosed that the commission has so far received about 25 petitions alleging acts of violence during the party primaries and political campaigns which he stressed is worrisome.
In a statement on Monday, the International Criminal Court reiterated its call for politicians to refrain from electoral offences, noting that it had the capacity to prosecute culpable individuals who ordered or incited electoral violence.