Why did it take the police this long to hand over case files of electoral violence as far back the conduct of 2015 general elections to the nation's electoral commission, you may want to ask?
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Mahmood Yakubu said he has received 126 case files from the Nigeria Police Force for the prosecution of electoral violence from 2015 general elections till date.
The INEC Chairman disclosed this when he received the Inspector General of Police Special Investigative Panel on the December 10, 2016 Rivers re-run on Wednesday in Abuja.
Yakubu said that 61 out of the received files of the election offenders had been successfully prosecuted as a result of the INEC collaboration with security agencies on the matter.
“We have cooperated with the security agencies particularly the police in prosecuting electoral offenders.
“Since 2015 general elections and the re-run elections in 2016, we have received 120 case files from the police for prosecution.
“I am happy to say that we have so far recorded 61 successful prosecutions as a result of the cooperation with the security agencies.
“The biggest one came after the disruption of the April 2016 re-run elections in Kano state, in a constituency in Minjibir Local Government Area.
“In the election, over 40 offenders were successfully prosecuted in a joint effort between the commission and the security agency. The highest number of prosecution the commission has ever achieved,’’ he said.
Yakubu, who expressed INEC delight in the IGP for setting up the special investigative panel, assured of full cooperation with security agencies in their investigation.
“Whatever you required to facilitate investigation from the commission, be rest assured that the commission will be forthcoming.
“On our own, the commission have also set up administrative review of what transpired in Rivers so that where our staff are found to be culpable we will deal with the situation.
“We have very contentious staff in the commission but where our staff erred they will be dealt with.
“The most important thing in this situation is to learn lesson and see how we move forward,’’ he said.
He said that the commission required the cooperation and active involvement of security agencies to carry out its statutory responsibilities, including successful conduct of peaceful elections.
Yakubu also disclosed that so far, since the last general election INEC had conducted 163 elections, from re-run to by-elections nationwide.
“We still have six more re-run elections between January and February, including the replacement of unfortunate death of the member of the Delta State House of Assembly.’’
The leader of the 10 man investigative panel, Dan Okoro, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Force CID, had earlier said they were at INEC headquarters to seek the commission’s support on the investigation.
“We are here to introduce ourselves, engage, interact with INEC on our mission to enable us to handle this national assignment successfully,’’ Okoro said.