Politicians engaging in vote-buying will be arrested and prosecuted, Inspector General of Police Usman Baba said Monday.
IGP Baba spoke in Abuja at a one-day stakeholders’ summit aimed at ensuring the smooth conduct of the 2023 general elections.
Quoting him, “Concerted efforts are being made by the Nigeria police as the lead agency in electoral security management to ensure that the use of money is not allowed to influence the 2023 general elections.
“We will ensure that at least, this menace is brought to the barest minimum. We will achieve this in synergy with sister security agencies, anti-graft and intelligence agencies and other stakeholders.”
The IGP was represented by the assistant inspector general of police, Operations, Bala Ciroma. According to him, many suspected vote-buyers, and would soon be prosecuted. Aside politicians, he said, suspected thugs are also in the police custody, and would be charged to court after Investigations.
He said, “We will also ensure that the police X-Squad, intelligence officers and investigators are moved to the field to ensure that politicians moving on election days to buy votes are apprehended and dealt with according to the provisions of the law.
“The use of money during the 2023 elections is unacceptable and we will do all we can within the confines of the law to bring the offenders to book.
“Some politicians spend huge sums of money to get elected to office, thus their priority having been elected is to recoup the money they spent during the election.
“The consequence of this is that those elected provide poor governance and deny the public the benefit of good governance, as they most likely are not the best candidates.
“When elections are influenced by money, credibility of the process is questioned. This leads to rancour and the possibility of violence after the elections.”
He further advised youths to shun thuggery. In his view, “Some politicians often use money to sponsor restive youths who are readily available and willing to be mobilised as political thugs and to wreak mayhem on opponents and voters.
“We have seen this in the current political campaigns and this violence could spread to post election if the use of money is not checked.
“We cannot rule out attempt to entice the political umpires and security agents with money to influence the outcome of elections.”
The chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, said vote buying hinders credible elections.
According to him, “We must collectively work to ensure we change the narrative around the current practice of deceptive election, otherwise that will not only translate to flawed political recruitment process, but will result in a great disservice to our dear country, Nigeria.
“We have consistently witnessed the continuous exploitation of a large section of the society by politicians who succeed in cajoling the vulnerable electorate to trade in their votes for a paltry sum.
“They fail to realize that when they sell their votes, they also give up their rights to demand transparency and accountability from the elected leaders.
“They sell their future and that of their unborn children for an insignificant and greatly under-valued sum.”