THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have jointly employed 18 lawyers to prosecute suspected electoral offenders.
The commissions also employed the services of two senior advocates.
In a letter seen on Saturday, April 15, the commissions said the 18 lawyers are members of their legal team.
They stressed that the lawyers would prosecute electoral violators and vote-buyers whose offences are related to financial crimes arising from the 2023 general elections.
The two senior advocates are Rotimi Oyedepo, representing the anti-graft agency, while the other is Abdulaziz Sani, representing the electoral commission.
The other lawyers from the commissions are Nasara Auta, Odinaka Ikoroha, Adeyemi Olufemi, Mahmud Tafarki, Ahmed Mohammed, Amaka Okwuaka, Enoch Akafa, and Temple Ukaegbu.
Other members of the legal team are Samuel Daji, Adaka Ekwu, Soare Adebayo, Arumemi Moses, Abubakar Aliyu, Ikhamaede Ramai, Andrew Akojn, and Khalid Sanusi Sabo.
EFCC, Police apprehend electoral offenders, vote-buyers
The ICIR reported that the police arrested a total of 781 persons for various forms of electoral offences across the country during the general elections.
The police noted that 203 persons were arrested during the presidential and National Assembly elections, while 578 others were apprehended during the governorship and state assembly polls.
According to the police, about 66 firearms of various descriptions were also recovered from political thugs during the period.
The police stated, “A summary indicates that a total of 185 major electoral offences were reported during the Presidential and National Assembly Elections, with 203 arrests made and 18 firearms recovered. Similarly, a total of 304 electoral offences were recorded during the gubernatorial and state Houses of Assembly polls, with a total number of 578 arrest and 48 firearms.”
The security agency stressed that it would be collaborating with the INEC to ensure that all electoral offenders are prosecuted.
The ICIR reported that the EFCC apprehended over 65 persons for vote-buying and inducement across 28 states during the governorship and state assembly elections.
The commission’s team monitoring the polls in the Port Harcourt zone arrested a total of 12 people for various offences bordering on inducing voters with money to vote for their preferred candidates.
Also 13 suspects, consisting of 10 males and three females, were arrested in Kaduna State.
The statement added, “They were apprehended by operatives working on intelligence or chanced upon them during the monitoring exercise. A suspect allegedly involved in vote buying was nabbed at School Road, Unguwan Rimi Kaduna. The suspect, who initially resisted arrest, is, however, in custody, pending the conclusion of the investigation.”
US, UK promise to sanction electoral offenders
In November 2022, The ICIR reported that the United Kingdom vowed to sanction Nigerians seeking to undermine the 2023 general elections in Nigeria.
It said that some of the sanctions, which include visa ban, had worked in the past and deterred election offenders in the country.
It stated, “And if we understand that an individual has been involved in violence, either directly or through inciting violence, we can use our visa programme to ensure that that person is not allowed to travel to the UK.
“They (visa sanctions) absolutely do work. Obviously, I cannot talk about individual names, but I can assure you we have used it and the whole point of it is to deter people.”
Similarly, The ICIR reported that the United States said it would impose visa ban on electoral offenders.
The US said visa ban is a long standing practice for electoral offenders.
It further noted that it would be applicable to offenders in the 2023 general elections.
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