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Coalition of rights group to form political party

01 January 2013, 10:28

Lagos - A Coalition of Human Rights Group declared on Monday that it would form a political party that would wrestle the ruling PDP out of power in 2015. Mr Toyin Raheem, the Executive Secretary of Campaign for Constitutionalism and Human Rights (CCHR), told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Monday that the proposal was informed by the increased infringement of human rights.

He said members of the group are the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Campaign for Constitutionalism and Human Rights (CCHR), Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC), and Civil Liberty Organisations (CLO). "In 2013, a broad platform of human rights and Civil society groups is to be formed and may metamorphose into a political party to wrestle power from the party in power. "It is unfortunate that despite the proactive efforts of various human rights organisations, infringment of human rights has been on the increase. "What saddens one’s mind is that all this is happening in a democratic government," he said.

Raheem warned that "it will never be business as usual for violators of human rights; whether it is government, individuals or companies", if the party was established. He said all groups on the platform of the Joint Action Front (JAF), June 12, had agreed to rise against extra-judicial killings by security agencies and dangerous sects in the country.

He said the group would ensure that it halted the imposition of candidates by various political parties through aggressive awareness campaign programmes. While criticising de-registration of some political parties by INEC, Raheem said that the group was in court to challenge the decision as the Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi did. The secretary described the de-registration of parties as an infringement on the rights of the freedom of association of Nigerians as enshrined in the country's constitution.

He also said that in 2013 the group would ensure that no state government was allowed to hand-pick a local government council chairman against the provision of Section 7 of the constitution. Raheem expressed optimism that 2013 would be a human rights violation-free year, hoping that government and police would involve civil right groups in decision making.

The Coordinator of Isolo Unit of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, Mr Salaudeen Abdulganiu, told NAN that the organisation had commenced enlightenment campaign ahead of the 2015 general elections. According to him, the level of illiteracy in the country was alarming as many people do not know their rights.

"It is in the light of this that we have started lecturing the masses to know that whenever it is time for registration, they should come out, register and vote for the candidate of their choice and their vote will count. "We started it early so that the electorate will not be bought with money due to the level of poverty in the land," he said.

- NAN

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