The Independent National Electoral Commission and the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) have appointed 18 lawyers including two Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) to prosecute electoral offenders.
They made the appointments via a letter on Saturday.
The 18 lawyers – all legal officers of both INEC and the EFCC – will prosecute electoral offences relating to financial crimes arising from the 2023 general elections.
It was gathered that the first SAN on the list – Abdulaziz Sani – is from the electoral umpire, while the other SAN – Rotimi Oyedepo – is from the anti-graft agency.
The other lawyers from both commissions include Nasara H. Auta, Odinaka Ikoroha, Adeyemi Olufemi, Mahmud Tafarki, Ahmed Mohammed, Amaka Okwuaka, Enoch M. Akafa, and Temple Ukaegbu.
The others are Samuel Daji, Adaka Mainforce Ekwu, Soare Adebayo Benedict, Arumemi Moses, Abubakar Aliyu, Ikhamaede Ramai, Andrew Akojn, and Khalid Sanusi Sabo.
It was learnt that over 200 persons are on the INEC prosecution list for various electoral offences during the just concluded general elections.
ADULAWO NEWS recalls that on March 14, INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said the commission was setting up a legal team to deal with cases of electoral offenders during the February 25 presidential and National Assembly polls.
A day earlier, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, directed commissioners of police in charge of state commands to ensure the investigation of all cases of violation of the Electoral Act during the February 25, 2023 presidential and National Assembly polls.
The IG directed them to swiftly conclude the investigation and forward the case files to INEC for prosecution.
Similarly, the EFCC in March revealed that it arrested no fewer than 65 persons on 18 March 2023 across the 28 states where governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections were conducted, for alleged voter inducement.
But it did not state the number of arrests made during the presidential election.
The statement, issued by EFCC Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, reads in part, “Twenty of the suspects were arrested by operatives from the Ilorin Zonal Command while 13 suspects were nabbed by operatives on election monitoring duty at the Kaduna Zonal Command.
“The teams 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 their preferred candidates, while the Uyo Zonal Command made 4 arrests in Calabar. The remaining suspects were arrested in Gombe, Sokoto, Kebbi, and Niger states.
“Those arrested in Kaduna consist of 10 males and 3 females. 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.
“Also in Kaduna, the Tẹam led by ACE II Esmond Garba arrested one Buhari Muhammed in PU 002 Dogara Yaro Dagari area. He was arrested with Voter Coupons, which he confessed would be used to trace and pay those who voted for his party.”
He said the team monitoring the voting exercise around LEA Kabala Doki, Kaduna led by CSE Wakilu Omokide also arrested two individuals suspected of vote buying.
“Upon their arrest, a total sum of N67, 500, a list containing names of voters with their PVC numbers and their bank account details amongst others, were recovered from them,” Wilson said.
He added that preliminary investigation revealed that the major modus operandi of the suspects was to “give cash, transfer money, coupons and send recharge cards to eligible voters to induce them to vote for their candidates.
“A search of their persons and phones revealed that most of them had transferred money into the accounts of some voters on the lists recovered from them.
“Some of the items recovered from the suspects include voters’ cards, monies, and a list containing names and account details of voters. Others are recharge cards.”
He said arrests were also carried out in Cross River and Rivers states among others.