A human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), on Tuesday in Abuja, tasked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure proper prosecution of all electoral offenders in the forthcoming general elections.
Delivering his speech at the public presentation of partnership between Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), Human Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), Police Service Commission (PSC), (ICPC) and Human Rights Commission on reporting and prosecuting vote trading, Barrister Falana urged INEC not to limit the prosecution to only votes buyers and sellers but also to those who spent money on campaign beyond the stipulation of the electoral act.
“I am challenging the TMG and INEC to see what can be done toward getting a team of lawyers in each of the states of Federation to ensure that all those who are arrested for committing electoral offences are successfully prosecuted.
“And if there is any Attorney General that attempts to file a ‘Nolle Prosecu’ such a person should be exposed for promoting criminality in our country.
“You have left out those who collect money or offer money or party that offering money to people to decamp. You have left out the money spent on the media to manipulate stories and make phoney projections. We have left out money spent on pastors and mallams to pray for candidates in the election. What of huge fund spent on bribing electoral officers and security personnel.
“So, what we are asked to discuss is the N2, 000/ N3, 000 giving poor to vote. That is why I said we are very partial in our discussion. I can assure you that the majority of the elite including some of us that are here are not going to vote. February 16 and March 2 are holidays for the elites because they are going to be watching their television and sending text messages on that day. It is the poor, those attending those rallies who are likely to participate in the electoral process.” He declared.
Falana said Section 124 of the electoral act which stipulated that any form of inducement either money, gift and promises were a criminal offence, regretting that nobody has been prosecuted for inducing voters since 1999 and the ugly trend continued unabated.
Also speaking, the acting Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu said that the police have put a lot of security strategies in place for the conduct of the election.
“You know that materials must be secured, the official must be protected, electorate themselves must be protected and observers either domestic or international must be protected,” he stated.
Mr Adamu said every policemen and security official deployed for the election must wear accreditation tag as means of identification to avoid impersonation, adding that police personnel would not carry firearms at the polling unit.
He cautioned Nigerians not to violate the electoral rules and regulations, adding that an election Monitoring Investigation Team (MIT) has been set up and would be going round to identify anywhere the electoral process was compromised or offence was committed.
He said such a case would be investigated with INEC and offenders would be prosecuted.