Sunday, April 21, 2024
HomeFEATUREDSERAP tasks INEC on prosecution of sponsors of electoral offences in Imo,...

SERAP tasks INEC on prosecution of sponsors of electoral offences in Imo, Bayelsa, Kogi

FOLLOWING widespread reports of allegations of bribery and electoral fraud in the governorships elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to fish out and prosecute sponsors of electoral offences.

In a statement on Sunday, SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, stated that INEC should set up a broad-based investigation into allegations and cases of electoral bribery in Saturday’s elections.

He stated that SERAP learnt that the governorship elections “witnessed cases of electoral offences including electoral violence, vote-buying, conspiracy, and undue influence.

“The proposed joint investigation should comprise INEC, anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies, the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), and independent leaders and citizens’ groups from Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa states.”

While SERAP calls for INEC to arrest, suspected perpetrators and sponsors, the organization wants the electoral commission to disclose the full financial details of the on the governorship candidates for the elections.”

According to Oluwadare, INEC’s constitutional responsibilities, demands that it to “take bold and effective measures to combat the culture of impunity for electoral bribery and violence in the country.

“The recurring cases of electoral bribery and violence make a mockery of Nigeria’s electoral process and participatory democracy.”

The letter, noted that “electoral integrity is critical to a legitimate democracy. When the integrity of that process is compromised, the legitimacy of our government and the public confidence in our public institutions is seriously undermined.

“Reports of grave electoral offences in Bayelsa, Kogi and Imo states have shown that INEC and politicians have learnt little or nothing from the well-documented problems during the 2023 general elections.”

Noting that, “Nigerians should have the final say in the election of governmental officials,” SERAP stated that it would take appropriate legal actions to “compel INEC to comply with our request in the public interest.”

Oluwadare decried the persistent cases of bribery and violence in the country’s elections as they violate the right of citizens to vote and undermine the ability of INEC to discharge its responsibilities.

“The crisis confronting the country’s elections and lack of public trust and confidence in the electoral process can be addressed if impunity for electoral bribery and violence is combated,” he stated.



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