In the past seven and a half years, Nigerians have seen things go from bad to beyond worse. It’s unbelievable that a few years back, we could buy spaghetti for ₦120 or sliced bread for ₦250.
This situation is motivating voter turnout for the 2023 elections. There have been many sensitisation efforts encouraging people to pick up their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) because they won’t be able to vote without them.
Recently, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the final dates for PVC collection to be from January 25-29, 2023. This announcement motivated people sounding the alarm for PVC collection. However, some of the methods employed recently to encourage people to collect their PVCs infringe on their fundamental human rights.
What’s happened now?
On January 26, 2023, a video surfaced on the internet where people – traders and customers without their PVCs were denied entry into the electrical section of the Alaba International Market, Lagos.
An eyewitness explained that the market leaders planned it to ensure everyone went out to vote in the forthcoming elections. Although their enthusiasm can be applauded, it doesn’t change the fact that we’re in a democracy, and people have the choice of whether or not to vote. They can’t and shouldn’t be coerced into it.
Here are some fundamental rights being violated:
Rights to freedom of movement
According to the 1999 constitution (as amended), except for people suspected of or have committed a criminal offence, every Nigerian is free to move freely throughout the country. And barring them from entering anywhere because they don’t have a PVC directly infringes on this right.
Freedom of opinion and expression
Although the best thing for the country would be voter participation,, some Nigerian citizens do not believe in voting for personal or religious reasons. And they are 100% entitled to their beliefs and opinions. Everyone has the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information as long as it doesn’t amount to treason.
While trying to protect our democracy, we should respect other people’s opinions and not turn into the monsters we’re fighting. Additionally, you can be sentenced to imprisonment or made to pay heavy fines if prosecuted for these infringements.
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