Alleged Nigeria vote buyers nabbed on poll eve


Chinyere Igwe

from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
Nigeria Bureau
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – THE arrest of politicians on vote buying allegations, on the eve of general elections, amplifies the foul play that has marred preparations for the closest electoral contest in Nigeria.

Millions in Africa’s largest country by population and economy are to cast their vote today (Saturday) in the presidential and National Assembly elections.

Violence, kidnapping, murder, tensions and allegations of vote rigging have marred preparations for the polls.

The situation has exacerbated after a day before the elections, authorities confirmed the arrest of some politicians accused of vote buying.

Earlier on Friday, Police in the eastern city of Port Harcourt arrested a member of the House of Representatives, Chinyere Igwe, alleged in possession of US$498 000 in his car.

Reportedly, he was in possession of a list of beneficiaries whose votes were allegedly to be bought.

Police officers from Rivers State Command deployed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) regional headquarters apprehended the suspect.

Late Friday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) reported that it had intercepted the sum of N32,4 million ($70 588) in Lagos, suspected to be used for vote buying.

The suspect has not been named as investigations continue.

Abdulrasheed Bawa, EFCC chairperson, has implored personnel of the commission deployed for election monitoring duties to “show courage and not give room for unscrupulous persons to undermine the integrity of the elections through financial inducement.”

“Tactical team of operatives are currently on ground in all the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory,” Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC Head of Media and Publicity, communicated,

The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), an umbrella organisation of all registered parties in the country, urged the INEC to ensure that its officials were not compromised.

It was reacting to Igwe’s arrest after he was allegedly found in possession of foreign currency.

“This arrest is just a tip of how politicians have planned to deploy illicit funds to compromise the electoral process,” Willy Ezugwu, CNPP Secretary General, said.

He alleged politicians were deploying foreign currencies to buy votes, since they have no access to the volume of local currency to deploy for vote buying due to the naira redesign policy of the federal government being executed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

CNPP commended police and all the security agencies for their efforts to ensure the safety of voters across the country.

Security agencies have pledged impartiality.

Ahmed Abubakar Audi, Commandant General of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), issued a stern warning to officers.

“For anyone found compromising, working for any political party or involved in accidental discharge during these elections, we will not only dismiss you, but we will also prosecute you to teach others a very big lesson,” he warned the officers.

More than 93,4 million Nigerians are registered to vote, out of an estimated 219 million people.

Frontrunners for the presidency are Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), ex-Deputy President Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as well former PDP governors Rabiu Kwankwaso and Peter Obi of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) and Labour Party respectively.

The leaders signed a Peace Accord on Wednesday, as a commitment to national unity and peaceful elections.

Incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari’s term-limited and cannot seek re-election for a third term.

– CAJ News







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