Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the leadership of the security agencies in the country have resolved to arrest and prosecute anybody found culpable of vote buying and selling ahead of the Osun State governorship and 2019 general elections.
Rising from a meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security, on Tuesday, where the Commission’s chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu, urged security agents to arrest the perpetrators against Electoral Act, the security agencies also vowed to prosecute anybody found wanting.
“We must continue to work together to anticipate the challenges and address the challenges because we have the capacity to do so.
“The Nation expect we should do so, and once we do so there be less problem during elections.
“There are some recent developments or signs that call for greater vigilant. We seen statements by some of the political actors captured in various and circulated nationwide via social media Platforms.
“It is something that the security agencies needs to put eye on because if we allow this to persist, it will encourage those who may wish to do some destructive actions or fill encourage to do so.
“But if we take immediate action I think we may be able to stop them and further secure the environment for us to conduct free fair credible elections.
“In the case of Osun State in particular, I will like to draw the attention of the IACES to this very disturbing trend of vote buying in election day, where some individuals openly flaw the Electoral Act by inducing voters with all manner of things on election day.
“We should not allow this to happen. On our part we will do whatever we need to do to ensure that we find solutions to this challenge including the re-administration of our poling units,” he warned.
Reacting, representative of National Security Agency (NSA), who is also the co-chair, Peace Ibekwe Abdallah, warned that the security agents would apply the full wrath of the law to deal with the culprits.
“The forthcoming elections, especially 2019 general elections, have to be conducted in such a manner that, not only on wider Nigerians society, but indeed the international community should be able to perceive us in a very positive manner.
“Excuses of course will not be tolerated. It is a truth that we have all be trained personnel and by the virtue of the fact that we have sufficient training that will be given this assignment or we are representing our organisations.
“There will of course be full enforcement of electoral laws. Now there are certain trends that give us concern.
“Already we have started witnessing a different types of atmosphere regarding preparations for elections, in terms of utterances of individuals, which utterances are not healthy for elections and could incite the public.
“We have been talking with the co-chairman and consulting with leadership of various security agencies to come with preventing and also apprehending those who are.
“Because this will be the beginning of the situation that may be uncontrollable at certain point.
“Therefore it is extremely important that long before the 2019 elections, we must be able to find a way of surmounting this dangerous trend.
“Again there will be issue of vote buying and vote selling, these are concerns that we have to.
“Look into collectively and begin to deal with whatever problems that might arise from these unfavourable acts.
“Anybody found complicity in any situation will of course have to bear the consequences on his own. It is very important for you to pass this message down the line to all you operatives.
“Any coloration or complicity by any of your staff will be viewed with all seriousness it deserved. I don’t need to over emphasised that,” he noted.