Amnesty International (AI) - AI delegations travelled to Nigeria in January and March and gained support from Nigerian celebrities and senior political figures. Groups in Canada, Sweden, the Netherlands and Norway have also collected around 500 signatures and sent them to President Obasanjo.

Thousands more will land of the desks of the President, state governors and other top politicians with a simple message: respect and protect human rights during the elections. You can download our petition and add your voice to the calls for violence-free elections.

On 14 and 21 April, Nigerians will elect their presidential, parliamentary and gubernatorial representatives. AI has already received reports of several cases of political violence in the run-up to the elections, including the assassination of a journalist, political aspirants and their aides.

On 27 July, 2006, Chief Funsho Williams, a candidate for Governor of Lagos State, was killed at home. The police stated that 244 suspects were arrested in connection with his murder, including several of his political associates and personal aides. By early December, 35 suspects remained in police custody. The specific charges against those who remained in detention are unclear.

On 14 August 2006, Dr Ayo Daramola, a candidate for Governor in Ekiti State, was shot and stabbed by armed men who forced their way into his home. Police arrested six young men in connection with the killing in October. One of the suspects is reported to have claimed that he was commissioned to kill Daramola by an aide of the incumbent Ekiti State Governor. The other suspects claimed that the motive was robbery.

Elections in 1999 and 2003 were characterised by high levels of political violence and fraud. In 2003, human rights abuses included political assassinations, harassment of rival candidates and violent clashes causing numerous fatalities. State-endorsed armed vigilante groups were responsible for large numbers of extrajudicial executions in the south-east of the country and were suspected of involvement in a number of unsolved killings of politicians.

Other abuses include harassment, torture and ill-treatment of human rights activists and those critical of the government. Politicians and officials, including people currently in office, have been implicated in orchestrating violence and assassination attempts using armed groups of civilians. The Nigerian government is not doing enough to address this political violence.

Nigeria has a population of over 140 million people. Seven out of 10 live on less than US$1 per day, a figure widely accepted as the measure of absolute poverty. This is despite Nigeria’s status as the largest oil producer in Africa and the fifth-largest within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Help us support Nigeria’s call for violence-free elections by downloading your own copy of the petition and racking up as many signatures as you can. Your friends, family and colleagues can all contribute to securing a safe and fair election for the people of Nigeria.

Please send all petitions to:

Javier Surroca
Nigeria team
Africa Programme
Amnesty International - IS
Peter Benenson House
1 Easton Street
London WC1X 0DW
United Kingdom

We’ll send them on to President Obasanjo and other top political and media figures in Nigeria.