Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has threatened to arrest and prosecute any politician who engages in vote-buying in any part of the country.
The Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, was quoted as handing down the warning in a statement by the Acting Head, Media and Publicity, Tony Orilade, in Abuja, yesterday.
He announced a special reward to Nigerians who would volunteer information on those buying or encouraging vote-buying during the polls.
Although the chairman did not specify the amount for each whistle-blower on voter-buyers, Magu said those who give out cash and those who receive the cash to undermine the electoral process would be treated as common criminals wherever they may be caught.
According to him, “We wish to warn Nigerians against those who intend to engage in voters’ inducement. There are existing laws in the Electoral Act, 2010 (EA), which forbid voters inducement.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Section 124 of the Electoral Act, 2010 says that any person paying money to any person as bribe at any election is liable to punishment of N500, 000 fine or 12 months imprisonment or both upon conviction.
“Section 124 of the Electoral Act, 2010 also states that any person receiving any money or gift for voting or to refrain from voting at any election will be liable to a maximum fine of N500, 000 or 12 months imprisonment or both.
“We, therefore, urge Nigerians to avoid or resist inducement from corrupt politicians and vote for the candidates of their choice.
“We also seize this opportunity to state that that EFCC in collaboration with INEC will reward any patriotic citizen that provides an authentic information leading to the apprehension of any culprit of vote buying in accordance with the whistle-blowing Policy.’’
The anti-graft agency said that its investigations and intelligence gathering sources have revealed that certain corrupt politicians have perfected plans to pollute the electoral process with illicit and looted funds.
“We also have intelligence reports on the plans by some countries in collaboration with some politicians and looters to bring in foreign currencies to induce voters and undermine the elections.
“But our operatives in collaboration with sister agencies are doing everything possible to block the illicit funds and ensure credible polls in the country,” he added.
EFCC said it was the collective duty of Nigerians to resist attempts to corrupt the country’s electoral process by exposing the evil perpetrators.