Abuja - Nigeria's human rights chief demanded that the government prosecute those responsible for the killings of at least 97 people in election-related violence this year in southern Rivers State.
The chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu, said in a Twitter message that the killers belong in jail and Nigeria should end impunity for political violence.
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Odinkalu chaired a commission of inquiry that in May published the names of 117 people it said should be prosecuted for crimes ranging from killings to burning houses in the run-up to Nigeria's presidential, parliamentary and governorship elections in March and April this year. No one has been arrested for the violence ahead of the elections, which brought Nigeria's first democratic change of government.
Odinkalu is concerned because his government-funded but independent commission has previously reported that more than 1,000 people were killed during the 2007 elections and no one was ever prosecuted.
A tribunal on Saturday nullified this year's regional election won by Rivers State incumbent Gov. Nyesom Wike, and on Monday declared the elections of 21 of 32 state legislators invalid, raising more tension in the oil-rich state. The tribunal said new elections for the seats, all held by Nigeria's opposition party, must be held within 60 days.
Wike's party said Monday it rejected the tribunal's decision and called an emergency meeting of its executive council.