The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has called on Oba of Lagos, His Royal Majesty, Oba Rilwanu Akiolu, to tender an apology for the statement credited to him.
The traditional ruler was reported to have threatened the Igbos living in Lagos State who may vote against his preferred candidate in the forthcoming April 11 elections.
The Situation Room, a coalition of over 60 civil society organisations (CSOs) across the country, in a release made available in Abuja, also condemned the statement.
The statement reads: “Situation Room calls on the Oba of Lagos to immediately withdraw his statement, apologise for his hate speech and reiterate his respect for the right of all Nigerian citizens to freely and democratically express themselves in the state-level elections on April 11 2015.
“The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room condemns the statement made by Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu threatening Ibos in the State who may vote against his preferred candidate in the forthcoming April 11 State-level elections.
“The Oba’s statement offends the constitutionally guaranteed rights of every citizen to vote for candidates of their choice in elections. His statement also constitutes an electoral offence as it constitutes threats of violence. In addition, it constitutes hate speech likely to provoke mass crimes in violation of international human rights laws.”
‘It is disingenuous to accuse everyone who calls for restructuring as trying to break up the county. History tells us that that kind of cheap blackmail will not work as long as the underlying reasons for the agitations persist.’
‘The biggest challenge seems to be that we seem to be allowing moderate voices on this issue to be drowned out by the reckless utterances of a few rabble rousers on all sides who may be tools in the hands of those who do not wish this country well. These are some of the people who arrogate to themselves the toga of spokespersons of our diverse groups.’
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