Group calls for suspension of February elections in Nigeria

The present state of things in the country has made a Nigerian civil group, called Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER) to approach the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice to request a suspension of  the February 14, 2015 general elections in Nigeria.

The group's Executive Director, Mr Frank Tiete, told a news conference in Abuja on Thursday, that the move was due to insecurity in major parts of the country. The motive behind the application was based on early warning signs that the lives of Nigerians were being threatened ahead of the polls.

Tiete, a lawyer, said the application sought an order directing the President of ECOWAS to urgently assess the security situation in Nigeria and the under listed prayers.

"To invoke the necessary provisions of the ECOWAS Protocol relating to the mechanism for conflict prevention, management, resolution, peace keeping and security.
"An order directing the ECOWAS President to publish and disseminate the report of the Threat Assessment of the Security Situation in Nigeria.

"An order directing the Federal Government and the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS to publish the Federal Government's report.

"This is with a view to determining whether the general elections in 2015 in Nigeria should be postponed/suspended in order to protect and preserve the citizens' fundamental human right to life.''

Tiete said the application was pursuant to provisions of the ECOWAS Protocol Relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peace Keeping and Security.

According to him, Section 11 (6) of ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework provides that" human security refers to...threats to people/individual's rights, livelihoods, safety and life.''

He said the call had legal basis in Section 135(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
"If the federation is at war in which Nigeria is physically involved and the President considers that it is not practicable to hold elections, the National Assembly may extend the period of four years mentioned in subsection (2) of 135.

"But no such extension shall exceed a period of six months at any time.''

Tiete said the present political, ethnic and religious tensions in Nigeria were far greater in degree than the situation before 2011 elections which led to post election violence that claimed several lives.
According to him, the present state of insecurity of human life in Nigeria cannot sustain the conduct of general elections.

The lawyer said the application was purely in public interest as there was no iota of connection between the action and any political party.

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