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2023: NBA calls for free, fair elections

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THE Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has warned against malpractices in the forthcoming general elections.

NBA President Yakubu Maikyau gave the warning in a statement released to mark the International Anti-Corruption Day on Friday, December 9.

“One fundamental reason why this year 2022 Anti-Corruption Day is of significance to us in Nigeria is the opportunity it provides us to mark the event in the context of our forthcoming general elections. Electoral malpractice is a form of corruption which we tend to ignore and which deserves to be roundly condemned.

“Corruption of the electoral practices, be it in form of vote-buying or electoral violence, undermines the democratic practices, thereby circumventing the will of the people. This is, therefore, an opportunity for all of us as stakeholders to recommit ourselves to the patriotic duty of ensuring that the General Elections coming up in the first quarter of year 2023 is corruption free,” he noted.

Stating that the fight against corruption was not exclusive to security agencies and the judiciary, he encouraged citizens to get involved.

The NBA President, however, pointed out that the anti-corruption campaign should not violate human rights and the rule of law.

“Anti-corruption agencies must, therefore, not see themselves as special creatures who are above the law passed by the Nigerian people’s parliament. The rights of every citizen must be respected at all times and due process must be followed in our anti-corruption crusades,” he said.

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Urging legislators to enact proactive and effective laws against corruption, he called on the executive arm of government to implement them without prejudice.

The United Nations General Assembly designated December 9 as International Anti-Corruption Day to raise awareness of corruption and fight against it.

Nigeria is facing the adverse effects of corruption and was ranked the 154th least corrupt out of 180 nations by Transparency International as of December 2021.

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Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via vopara@icirnigeria.org or @ije_le on Twitter.

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