ELECTORAL MALPRACTICE | NHRC Indicts Former Govs, INEC Chairman, Senator, Others

by on August 12, 2016
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has recommended some for­mer governors, a deceased min­ister and other prominent Nige­rians for prosecution over their roles in the conduct of the 2007 and 2011 general elections.
Among the Nigerians indict­ed by the NHRC in its report is­sued on Thursday in Abuja, are the former Chairman of the Inde­pendent National Electoral Com­mission (INEC), Prof. Maurice Iwu; former governors of Edo and Delta States, Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor and Emmanuel Udua­ghan, respectively; former Acting Governor of Kogi State, Clarence Obafemi and Senator Ayo Arise from Ekiti State.
Curiously, the NHRC also in­dicted the late Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Mr. James Ocholi and some Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) for professional misconduct in the course of their handling of elec­tion petitions at the tribunals in 2008.
Ocholi, who was a minister in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet, died in a motor accident on the Kaduna-Abuja Highway alongside his wife and first son on March 6, 2016.
NHRC in the report on end­ing electoral impunity indict­ed 118 Nigerians of committing various electoral offences during the period.
Others are INEC officials in Anambra, Ebonyi, Delta, Kastina, Kogi and Rivers States, the Appeal Court, Election Petitions Tribu­nals and political parties such as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the defunct All Nige­ria People’s Party (ANPP).
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Prof. Ben An­gwe said those indicted will be further investigated and charged to the appropriate courts.
At the public presentation of the report, the Executive Secre­tary of NHRC, Prof. Bem Ang­we, urged the Attorney-Gener­al of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Mallami (SAN) to immediately commence the prosecution of the indicted persons and institutions.
Angwe said: “We hope that necessary steps will be taken to ensure that those persons or insti­tutions indicted are held account­able for their infractions during the 2007 and 2011 election cycles. This will surely curb electoral im­punity in Nigeria.”
He further noted that the pro­ject titled: “End Electoral Impu­nity”, is aimed at addressing elec­toral impunity in the Country by bringing perpetrators of violence and other election related crimes to justice.
While unveiling the 284-page report, Angwe urged Civil Socie­ty Organisations and the media to put pressure on the relevant gov­ernment agencies to ensure that the culprits of electoral crimes in the report are prosecuted.
In a brief presentation of the project report which was fund­ed by some development part­ners such as the Ford Founda­tion, Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and De­partment for International De­velopment, the Chairman of the Technical working Group of the project, Prof. Nsongurua Udom­bana, explained how they origi­nated the report.
Speaking on behalf of INEC, its National Commissioner, Mr Adedeji Shoyebi, said violence has contributed to the recent in­conclusiveness of elections across the country and advocated for an electoral offences court to check the menace.

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