203 Electoral Offenders Face Trial in 20 States – Police
Security agencies have vowed to prosecute no fewer than 203 electoral offenders who were arrested in 20 states during the just concluded general election.
Police commands in the states and other security agencies told newsmen on Thursday that the suspects would face trial after investigations.
In Ogun and Benue states, the suspects were caught with various exhibits, including cash, electoral materials, customized Automated Teller Machine cards and locally made pistols and were taken into custody by the police and the anti-graft agencies.
Recall that we had reported that the February 18 and March 25 elections were characterized by scores of violence and irregularities recorded in some states, voter inducement and other malpractices perpetrated by suspected thugs and other individuals.
While the police apprehended 134 suspects in Ogun, Lagos, Benue, Bayelsa, Delta, Kano and Anambra, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission nabbed 69 persons in Sokoto, Katsina, Osun, Ondo, Borno, Akwa Ibom, Kwara, Kaduna, Rivers, Cross River, Gombe, Kebbi and Niger states.
The Commissioner of Police in Ogun State, Frank Mba disclosed on Thursday that 30 persons were arrested for allegedly engaging in electoral violence and vote-buying during Saturday’s governorship election in the state.
He explained that the suspects were arrested in different parts of the state for unlawful possession of firearms, and voter inducement, among other offences.
Speaking during a visit to the Independent National Electoral Commission office in Abeokuta, the state capital, the commissioner said his men also recovered 12 firearms, including an English Beretta pistol, 25 live cartridges and eight expended cartridges from the suspects.
According to him, 235 credit cards and customized ATM cards were also recovered from the suspects engaged in vote-buying.
Mba said, “A total of 30 persons were arrested for various offences, ranging from unlawful possession of weapons to disorderly behaviour around polling units, conduct likely to cause a breach of peace and also for offences relating to undue influence and attempt to indulge in vote-buying.
“We also recovered a total of 12 firearms of different mixes and shapes, most of them are locally fabricated short guns.
“We also recovered one Beretta, an English-made pistol. We recovered a total of 25 live cartridges and eight expended cartridges. We also have with us a total of 235 credit cards or ATM cards which are very customized ATM and credit cards.’’
He stated that the cases would be transferred to INEC for prosecution after investigation, adding that the police would work with the commission to ensure a diligent trial of the suspects.
Mba noted, “Investigations are ongoing and as we promised on the day of the election, we will continue to keep citizens updated as we make progress with these cases, but you can trust us that we will certainly and surely do a good job.
“We believe that will be done very soon, you know under the new rules, the prosecution is handled by INEC, so at the right time, under the right directives from the office of the Inspector General of Police, these cases will naturally be transferred to INEC and we will work together with them, support them and ensure that these cases are diligently prosecuted.”