December 2, 2022

Following the preparation for the 2023 general elections, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, has disclosed that the Federal Government has initiated a process that would ensure speedy prosecution of those involved in electoral violence.

Malami, revealed this in his address during the opening ceremony of the 2022 International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, lamented that voters, media practitioners and members of civil society organizations, were usually victims of election-related violence.

He said: “We noted, with dismay, reports of some forms of attacks on journalists and voters by suspected hoodlums during elections in some parts of the country.

“President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government is committed to bringing to an end these undemocratic and uncultured activities through the administration of legally justifiable approaches on the perpetrators in order to serve as deterrence to others.

“I am pleased to say that the Federal and some State Governments have taken precautionary and proactive steps in taming the tides.

“It is imperative to renew our call on those involved in electioneering process to appreciate the fact that political activities are to be observed in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Law.

“Let us join hand in making sure that all campaign utterances are humane and in conformity with global best practices, thereby contributing to violence-free electoral process”, Malami stated.

Malami described the theme of this year’s celebration: ‘Media, Civil Society and violence-free Election in Nigeria’, as apt and timely, stressing that recent developments in the country proved that FG has laudable initiatives to end impunity for crimes against citizens.

“It is gratifying to note that supporting fair, credible and violence-free electoral process in the country is one of the cardinal themes of the Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Justice National Policy on Justice 2017.

“The Policy, which is still enforce, was signed on the 20th September, 2017. It expresses worries on and seeks to address the impunity for crimes regarding some election-related violence and malpractices especially the failure to hold perpetrators accountable.

“As we approach the 2023 General Elections in the country, the role of journalists in the democratic transition cannot be overemphasized.”

Reacting to this, IsL source, Vanguard reports that the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, harped on the need for journalists to be protected during elections.

Yakubu, who was represented by a National Commissioner at INEC, Mr. Mohammed Haruna, bemoaned a recent report which disclosed that over 45 journalists were killed across the globe last year.

He said the government must ensure that some ugly signs that included the closure of some media houses in Zamfara State were quickly tackled to ensure that opposition voices were not suppressed in the forthcoming election.

On his part, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, restated federal government’s commitment to ensuring that the impending general elections were free, fair and credible.

He said President Buhari had in speeches he delivered both locally and internationally, said he would ensure that the will of electorate prevailed, hence his determination to deploy technology for the conduct of the 2023 polls.

“So, let the media also be on the alert. Nigeria has held elections when there was tension and the election succeeded. So, the 2023 election will also succeed,” Adesina added.

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