THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed a 14-count charge lawsuit against two lawyers — John Demide and Sarah Ajibola for allegedly rigging the August 2018 Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) national election.
The anti-graft agency filed the fraud charges against the duo before the federal high court in Lagos state on May 5.
In a report by TheCable, Demide and Ajibola were accused of influencing figures of the election in favour of Paul Usoro, the NBA president who had a total of 4,509 votes as against his opponents Okafor Obi and Ernest Ojukwu who recorded 4,423 and 3,313 votes respectively.
The lawsuit signed by Rotimi Oyedepo, EFCC counsel, marked FHC/L/118c/2020 alleged that the defendants had tampered with the phone numbers of 1004 eligible voters including email addresses and cast votes for Usoro by impersonating them.
“That you, Sarah Omeigha Ajibola and John Ozovehe Demide sometime in August 2018, knowingly altered the email addresses and phone numbers of about 1004 eligible voters of the NBA 2018 National elections and… thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 13 of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2015,” the lawsuit read.
The suit also alleged that the lawyers of falsely using the supreme court jurisdiction to access the enrollment numbers of some lawyers to vote “with the intent of gaining an electoral advantage” in favour the incumbent president.
“That you, John Ozovehe Demide sometime on the 19th of August 2018, within the Jurisdiction of this court fraudulently used the unique identification features such as Name and Supreme Court Enrolment Number SCN043280 of one Gabriel Abijo Oladipo to vote as the same Gabriel Abijo Oladipo through your Smile modem on IP address 18.104.22.168, to vote with the intent of gaining an electoral advantage in favour of Mr Paul Usoro (SAN) who was one of the Presidential Aspirants during the 2018 Nigerian Bar Association elections and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 22(2) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2015 under the same section.”
“That you, John Ozovehe Demide sometime on the 20th day of August 2018, within the Jurisdiction of this Court fraudulently impersonated one Bankole Isaac Toyin to vote as the same Bankole Isaac Toyin with Supreme Court Enrolment Number SCN024643 by voting as such through your Smile modem on IP address 22.214.171.124 to vote with intent of gaining electoral advantage in favour of Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) who was one of the Presidential Aspirants during the 2018 Nigerian Bar Association elections and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 22 (3) of the cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2015”
Okafor had challenged Usoro’s victory and pleaded that the court verify voters and review the electoral process that led to the results announced, although Abubakar Mahmoud, former president of the NBA, had described the election as the fairest held so far in the history of the association.
Abubakar Malami Attorney General of the federation was also petitioned by a group of lawyers under the umbrella of concerned faithfuls of the Nigerian Bar Association, over the election which they described as “illegal and unconstitutional”.
The NBA election which is held every two years has been slated to hold on July 24.