Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is poised to take legal action against more than 200 individuals arrested for various electoral offences during the recently concluded general elections. This comes as the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) reveals that it is currently investigating 13 suspects for voters’ inducement during the presidential and National Assembly, as well as governorship and State Assembly elections.
The Nigeria Police Force has already transferred over 50 case files of electoral offences to INEC. Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, stated that “The commission has received over 50 case files from the police authorities. There are over 200 accused persons set for prosecution.
The commission has directed its Litigation and Prosecution Department to study the files and advise it on the prosecution. The department has since commenced action and as soon as it finishes, it will revert to the commission accordingly.”
On March 13, 2023, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, issued a directive to commissioners of police in charge of state commands to ensure investigation in all cases of violation of the Electoral Act during the February 25, 2023 presidential and National Assembly polls. The IG instructed them to conclude investigations promptly and forward the case files to INEC for prosecution.
In response, on March 14, the Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, announced that the commission was establishing a legal team to handle cases involving electoral offenders during the February 25 presidential and National Assembly polls.
On March 28, Baba directed that all electoral offences case files be submitted to the Commissioner of Police in charge of the legal unit.
This is to facilitate central collation and coordinated processing to the legal unit of INEC in preparation for the commencement of the prosecution process. Baba assured that the Nigeria Police Force would collaborate with the INEC leadership to ensure swift and transparent prosecution of all electoral offenders, in line with the vision of sanitizing the electoral space.
Usman Baba made these remarks during a meeting with strategic police managers of the NPF, including deputy inspectors-general of police and members of the force management team, assistant inspectors-general of police, commissioners of police, and other tactical commanders in Abuja.