As Nigerians voted on Saturday’s governorship and State Assembly elections, no fewer than 65 persons were arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for alleged voter inducement.
The commission revealed that 20 of the suspects were apprehended by operatives in the Ilorin Zonal Command while 13 others were nabbed by agents on election monitoring duty at the Kaduna Zonal Command.
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The agency also disclosed that the Port Harcourt Zone monitoring team also arrested a total of 12 persons for various offences bordering on the inducement of voters with money to vote for their preferred candidates, while the Uyo Zonal Command made four arrests in Calabar.
Some of the suspects were arrested in Gombe, Sokoto, Kebbi and Niger states. Those arrested in Kaduna consist of 10 and three females. They were apprehended by operatives working on intelligence during the monitoring exercise. One of the suspects who was allegedly involved in vote-buying was nabbed at School Road, Unguwan Rimi Kaduna.
Meanwhile, the Kaduna tẹam led by ACE II Esmond Garba arrested one Buhari Muhammed in Polling Unit 002 Dogara Yaro Dagari area with Voter Coupons, which he confessed would be used to trace and pay those who voted for his party.
Furthermore, the team on monitoring exercise around LEA Kabala Doki, Kaduna led by CSE Wakilu Omokide also arrested two individuals vote-buying suspects.
Upon their arrest, a total sum of N67,500, a list containing names of voters with their PVC numbers and their bank account details amongst others, were recovered from them.
During interrogation, it was gathered that the sole objectives of the suspects were to give cash, transfer money, coupons and send recharge cards to eligible voters to induce them to vote for their preferred candidates. A search conducted on their phones revealed that most of them had transferred money into the accounts of some voters on the lists recovered from them.
Items recovered from the suspects include voter cards, monies, a list containing names and account details of voters and recharge cards.
The Officers of the Kaduna Command also arrested two persons in Niger State for alleged vote buying. The first suspect, Umar.B. Ibrahim was arrested at the Peter Sarki Road polling unit based on intelligence. Upon searching his vehicle, an INEC identity card tag (domestic election observer) bearing his name and photograph and also a letter of appointment from BOS ( Bago Support Organisation) as Director Liaison, was recovered from him. Further enquiry disclosed that a certain Mr Usman Mohammed, who belongs to his political party gave him the INEC ID tag.
The second suspect, Isa Salihu Bababida, was arrested at Unguwar Nassarawa with several lists of names, account numbers and BVN.
Also in Port Harcourt, the election monitoring teams arrested 10 suspects in Port Harcourt alleged to be involved in voter inducement at Moscow Road, Elekahia, Township, Mile 2, Ward 2 polling Unit 2 and 30, Ogbum, Phalga, Port Harcourt. The suspects were arrested with A4 papers that had the names, telephone and account numbers of persons suspected to be voters. Also, two youths who were alleged to be involved in voter inducement were arrested at Ward 2 Polling Unit 2 and 30, Ogbum, PHALGA, Port Harcourt City.
The four persons arrested at different locations in Calabar by the team from Uyo Zonal Command, led by CE Binta A. Rano, are currently volunteering their statements at the Criminal Investigation Department, Cross River State Police Command.
The team arrested one Esther Asuquo Edem, the Woman Leader of one of the political parties for Ward 11, Calabar South, Cross River State and two others, Edet Okon Etim and Asanwana Peter Eyo, for alleged vote buying in Calabar.
The Woman Leader, who had a list of suspected voters, their account numbers and Thousands of Naira in cash was apprehended inside an uncompleted building, beside her Ward in Calabar South, while Etim and Eyo were arrested at Ward 12, Unit 11, at Kings Memorial School by Inyang Street, Abasi Obori, Calabar South.
Both Etim and Eyo had with them their lists and money they allegedly used in buying a vote
A total of 20 suspects were arrested by the Ilorin Zonal Command Adekunle Ademola, Wasiu Raimi, Laaro Rasheed, Alagbe Taiwo, Boniface Victory, Kayode Toba, Adeoye Adetunji, Lawal Favour, Abidoye Victoria Moradeyo, Magaji Iliasu, Abdulkadir Abdulmumini and Musa Lateef Olasunkanmi.
Others are Marudeen Sadiq, Abogunrin Jimoh Oluwasesan, Funmilayo Lawal, Olawuyi Bolarin, Garuba Ismail, Abiola Abogunrin, Amidu Tiamiyu and Usman Abdulazeez.
Some suspects, who were arrested at different polling units across the State, were caught with incriminating items including cash of various sums, a notebook containing a list of voters’ names, POS machines, mobile phones and voter cards, among others.
Upon interrogation, some of the suspects identified themselves as party agents while some admitted to distributing money to induce voters.
Gombe Zonal Command led by ACE Faruk M. Dogondaji made 10 arrests for alleged voter inducement, and recovered, 43 pieces of wrappers and N 1, 923,900 cash.
The Commission stated that investigations are still ongoing to determine the culpability of each suspect.