The Committee for the Defence Of Human Rights (CDHR) has condemned the high rate of deaths at rallies organised by political parties.

Malachy Ugwummadu, National President of CDHR, said the deaths were “avoidable and disturbing”, noting that no election campaign is “worth the spilling the blood of innocent Nigerians”.

He said: “It must be recalled that several people have been killed in a stampede on Tuesday, February 12, 2019, during a political campaign rally organised by the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), which took place in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

“In the same vein, on January 8, 2019, violent clashes between members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers and party supporters marred the inauguration of the campaign of the Lagos State APC gubernatorial candidate, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in Ikeja.

“No election campaign is worth spilling the blood of innocent Nigerians who are expressing their support for their political candidate by simply exercising their fundamental right to assemble freely, associate with other persons and belong to any political party for the protection of their interests as provided for by Section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).”

Malachy urged the Nigerian government and all parties to put in place plans to avoid deaths at rallies.

“Rather than only render apologies for these unfortunate deaths, the CDHR demands tangible attempts must be made by governments at all levels to ensure that such avoidable loss of lives does not occur in any future political campaign rally organised in Nigeria,” he said.

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