Thursday, 24 April 2014

Prosecute Electoral Offenders Now! - NHRC

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has recommended to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke (SAN), to prosecute 41 persons for violating electoral laws.

Among them are former Edo State Governor Oserhiemen Osunbor, a professor of law and former senator; a former Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Clarence Olafemi; a former Ekiti State Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mrs Ayoka Adebayo, and an Assistant Superintendent of Police, Christopher Oloyede.

The commission’s request is contained in a recommendation sent by its Governing Council to the AGF. Also listed are political parties and their officials, police officers, INEC officials, lawyers and politicians.
They were said to have been indicted by various election petitions tribunals and courts. They were alleged to have been linked to offences related to forgery, perjury and breach of trust.

The recommendation by the National Human Rights Commission that 41 persons who were allegedly indicted in judgments of Tribunals and Courts of competent jurisdiction of committing various acts criminalized by the Electoral Act such as forgery, perjury and breach of trust reassures us that there are people in government institutions who recognize the need to wage an implacable war against electoral and other impunities.

The Commission has creditably done its work; it is now left for us as citizens to do all in our power to make sure that the recommendation is not trashed or made to gather dust on the shelf of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation. We can begin by insisting that the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation ensures that the 41 persons are prosecuted before the end of June 2014 to demonstrate clearly the aversion of his office and possibly of the government in which he serves to electoral brigandage. Fortunately, the report of the Commission leaves little room for dilly-dallying. It attaches decisions of competent courts and tribunals that have not been set aside on appeal and, apparently, in respect of which the time for appealing has since elapsed. The AGF must be told in clear terms that what he does with the Report may well determine how his tour of duty will be historically assessed.  

Unless we send to prison those who take delight in perverting the electoral will of our people, we can never make democracy work in Nigeria. In sum, if democracy does not work then our people will continue to live in abject poverty as political desperadoes continue to hijack power for their base purposes. I shall be monitoring the AGF closely on this as my own token of support for his onerous work.

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