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Hon. Chairman INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission is set to prosecute over 200 persons arrested for various electoral offences during the just concluded general elections.

Already, the Nigeria Police Force has transferred over 50 case files of electoral offences to the electoral umpire.

Giving updates on the number of case files INEC offices across the country had received from the police and how many electoral offenders had been handed over to it, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, told Saturday PUNCH in an exclusive interview on Friday, “The commission has received over 50 case files from the police authorities. There are over 200 accused persons set for prosecution.

“The commission has directed its Litigation and Prosecution Department to study the files and advise it on the prosecution. The department has since commenced action and as soon as it finishes, it will revert to the commission accordingly.”

On March 13, 2023, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, directed commissioners of police in charge of state commands to ensure investigation in all cases of violation of the Electoral Act during the February 25, 2023 presidential and National Assembly polls.

The IG directed them to swiftly conclude investigation and forward the case files to INEC for prosecution.

On March 14, the Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, said the commission was setting up a legal team to deal with cases of electoral offenders during the February 25 presidential and National Assembly polls.

On March 28, Baba directed that all electoral offences case files should be submitted to the Commissioner of Police in charge of the legal unit.

This, according to him, is to enable central collation and coordinated processing to the legal unit of INEC preparatory to the commencement of the prosecution process.

He gave an assurance that the NPF would collaborate with the INEC leadership in ensuring that all electoral offenders were expeditiously and transparently prosecuted not only in the interest of criminal justice, but in furtherance of the police’s vision of sanitising its electoral space.

Baba spoke at a meeting with strategic police managers of the NPF comprising deputy inspectors-general of police and members of the force management team, assistant inspectors-general of police, commissioners of police and other tactical commanders in Abuja.

ICPC, EFCC probe 78

In a related development, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has revealed that it is still investigating 13 suspects arrested for alleged voters’ inducement during the presidential and National Assembly, and the governorship and State Assembly elections.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had in March revealed that it was investigating 65 suspects arrested during the polls, but has yet to give details of the arrests made during the presidential election.

The spokesperson for the ICPC, Azuka Ogugua, disclosed that the commission was still investigating the suspects during an interview with one of our correspondents on Friday.

She noted that of the 13 suspects, nine were apprehended during the presidential and National Assembly elections, while four were arrested during the governorship and state Houses of Assembly polls nationwide.

Ogugua said, “Investigations are ongoing concerning the arrested suspects. During the presidential elections, four vote buyers were arrested in Osun State with documents containing a list of names, phone numbers and account details of persons suspected to be voters. One vote buyer was arrested in Ondo State with recharge cards worth N500 each, another vote buyer was arrested in Borno State with four PVCs, N49,000 and 20 pieces of wrappers.

“One vote buyer was arrested in Akwa Ibom State with names and account numbers of vote sellers. Two vote buyers were also arrested in Sokoto State with signed tickets to enable them access wrappers and bags of rice after voting.

“Also, one vote buyer was arrested in Bauchi State with N2m recovered from him. He was arrested by troops of 33 Artillery Brigade and handed over to the ICPC.

“During the governorship and state Assembly elections, three vote buyers were arrested in Sokoto State with two PVCs, ATM cards, Infinix phone and CFA228,000 recovered from them. One vote buyer was also arrested in Katsina State with an unspecified amount of money.”

Saturday PUNCH could not get the latest update concerning the arrests made by the EFCC during the elections as the Head, Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, did not respond to inquiries by one of our correspondents.

However, he had in a statement in March revealed that the agency arrested 65 suspects during the governorship poll. However, the commission did not reveal the total number of arrests made during the presidential election in February.

The statement read in part, “Twenty of the suspects were arrested by operatives from the Ilorin Zonal Command, 13 suspects were arrested by the Kaduna Zonal Command and the Port Harcourt Zone arrested 12 suspects for various offences bordering on inducing voters with money. It added that the Uyo Zonal Command arrested four in Calabar. The remaining suspects were arrested in Gombe, Sokoto, Kebbi and Niger states.”

He, however, noted that investigations were still ongoing, adding that those arrested in Kaduna State consisted of 10 males and three females, adding that investigations had so far revealed that the major modus operandi of the suspects was to give cash, transfer money, coupons and send recharge cards to eligible voters to induce them.

Uwujaren explained that the Uyo Zonal Command arrested one Esther Edem, the woman leader of a political party for Ward 11, and two others, Edet Etim and Asanwana Eyo, for alleged vote-buying in Calabar, adding that Edem was caught with account numbers and thousands of naira in an uncompleted building.

The EFCC spokesman said the 20 suspects arrested from different parts of Kwara were caught with incriminating items like cash, notebooks containing names of voters, PoS machines, mobile phones and voter cards, among others.

“Upon interrogation, some of the suspects identified themselves as party agents, while some admitted distributing money to induce voters,” Uwujaren said.

He noted that the Gombe Zonal Command arrested 10 persons and recovered 43 pieces of wrappers and N1,923,900.

The acting Commander, Ilorin Zonal Office, Mr Michael Nzekwe, while parading the suspects, said, “We recovered huge sums of cash and Point of Sale machines. We are still investigating the matter. After the investigation, we will strictly follow the provisions of the law.”

The EFCC also said it had deployed 100 armed operatives to combat vote-buying in Kano, Katsina and Jigawa states during the supplementary elections.

The Kano Zonal Commander, EFCC, Mr Farouk Dogondaji, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Kano on Friday.

“We have deployed 20 personnel to monitor the conduct of the state Assembly elections in Kafur, Kankara in Katsina State,” he said.

He explained that adequate personnel were also deployed to monitor the exercise in Tudun Wada/Doguwa and Takai federal constituency, as well as some state Assembly election in Kano State.

Dogondaji said other personnel were also deployed for the House of Assembly election in Katsina and Jigawa states to prevent vote-buying.

He stated, “We have also deployed officers in the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano and the metropolis to monitor the exercise.

“We will be visible in all the polling units in Kano, Katsina and Jigawa to carefully monitor the entire exercise during and after the elections.

“We will be physically present at collection centres to prevent tampering with results from the local government areas to the state.

“We are carefully monitoring the entire exercise along with state security agencies towards providing a peaceful atmosphere for eligible voters to elect their leaders.”

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Raymond Dokpesi, Owner Of AIT, Raypower FM, Dies At 71




Nigerian Media Mogul, Chairman of Daar Communication, owners of African Independent Television and Raypower FM, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, has been reported dead, aged 71.

DAILY POST reports that this is contained in a statement by his son Raymond Dokpesi, Jnr.

The statement confirmed that the late media icon died on Monday.

The family did not disclose the reason for his death.

Dokpesi, who was a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic People, PDP, was born on October 25th 1951 and hailed from Edo state, Nigeria.

“It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the passing of High Chief Raymond Aleogho Anthony Dokpesi (Ezomo of Weppa-Wanno Kingdom), who passed away on May 29th, 2023. High Chief Dokpesi was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, and friend to many.

“He will be deeply missed by all who knew him. High Chief Dokpesi was also a respected and accomplished businessman, a pioneer in the media industry, and a philanthropist who dedicated his life to the service of his country and his community.

“His legacy will live on through the impact he made on the lives of many. The Dokpesi family is grateful for the outpouring of love and support during this difficult time.

“We ask that you keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we mourn the loss of our patriarch. We also ask for privacy during this time as we grieve together as a family. The family will release further details on the funeral arrangements in due course. May his soul rest in peace”, the statement contained.

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Buhari Prefers Animals To Nigerians, Says ‘My Cows, Sheep Much Easier To Control’ Than Compatriots




Outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari has slammed Nigerians, stating he prefers to be with animals on his farm because they are “much easier to control” than his compatriots.

“I am looking forward to tomorrow (Monday) to fly to my base and go back to my cows and sheep, which are much easier to control than fellow Nigerians,” said Mr Buhari.

Mr Buhari spoke at a gala and dinner held on Sunday in Abuja.

He also claimed that the 2023 elections gave power back to the Nigerian electorate.

While praising the outcome of the elections, Mr Buhari congratulated Nigerians for realising they have power in their votes and that their votes count.

Presidents of South Africa, Sierra Leone and Ghana attended the event. 

He added, “Your Excellencies, heads of state and government, and their representatives, I thank you very much, and I say goodbye to you and wish us the best of luck.”

Mr Buhari, in March, told U.S. ambassador Mary Beth Leonard that he was eager to return to his animals in Daura.

Mr Buhari also told the American diplomat that he could not wait to stop being Nigerian president and get back to his farm where his animals awaited him.

“I plan to be a big landlord back at home, working on my farms and tending to more than 300 animals. I am eager to go,” Mr Buhari told Ms Leonard.

In January 2022, the former military dictator complained about ruling Nigeria.

Peoples Gazette

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Nigerian Air: Airlines Berate Sirika, Groups Demand EFCC Probe




Domestic Airlines under the aegis of the Air Operators of Nigeria have berated the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, for allegedly putting pressure on the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to issue an Air Operators Certificate to Nigeria Air without following due process.

The carriers also accused the former minister of unilaterally plotting to establish Nigeria Air without involving the panel meant to work on the project.

The local carriers made this known in a statement issued by its spokesperson, Prof Obiora Okonkwo, on Sunday.

The statement said, “As indigenous operators, we are happy and grateful to the NCAA for saving us from this punishment by resisting the pressure from Minister Hadi Sirika to grant an AOC to Nigeria Air without going through the due process.”

The association further said the project had been allegedly shrouded in secrecy since the Ministerial Committee on the Establishment of a National Carrier recommended that the national carrier be private sector-driven with minimal government involvement.

It added, “On further investigation, we discovered some mind burgling dangerous agenda to kill the entire indigenous operators and handover monopoly to Ethiopian Airlines in a dubious and fraudulent way against the economic interest of Nigeria, hence our court action supported by strong material evidence. For us, it is a patriotic action to save the Nigerian Government, people and economy from exploitation and to also protect the Nigerian aviation sector and our investments.”

Meanwhile, a Nigeria-based anti-corruption group, SecureWorld and Liberty Initiative for Peace has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to arrest and probe Sirika for allegedly using the establishment of the national carrier economic malfeasance.

The petition, which was addressed to the EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, was signed by the Executive Director of SELIP, Mark Adebayo.

The letter read in part, “We are compelled to bring to your attention that the aircraft purportedly unveiled on Friday, May 26, 2023, by Minister Hadi Sirika, as the first flight of the national carrier, Nigeria Air, is still in active service of Ethiopia Airlines.

“We can confirm that the aircraft, a Boeing 737-800  with the registration number  ET-APL,  has since left the country this weekend for Turkey according to a check on the flight radar; it only transited Nigeria for the farce of a show put up by the minister.

“The flight landing in the country with Ethiopia Airlines’ registration number means Nigeria Air has no  Air Operator Certificate. No aircraft can be registered in Nigeria without the carrier having an AOC which means that the aircraft does not belong to Nigeria Air either as leased or owned equipment. So, Sirika should not be allowed to fool Nigerians,” the group said in the petition.”

The group urged the anti-graft agency to make Sirika account for the sum of N15.9bn that has been committed so far to the project by the Federal Government, alleging that the desperation by the minister was geared towards covering up the misappropriation of funds and monumental fraud.

Meanwhile, finding showed that the aircraft that was purportedly unveiled on Friday in Abuja flew back to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Saturday evening.

As of Saturday evening, the flight tracker showed the aircraft was en-route Addis Ababa, approaching from the Central African Republic.

However, on Sunday morning, the flight tracker showed the plane had landed in Ethiopia.

Efforts to reach the Managing Director of Nigeria Air, Capt Dapo Olumide, and the Head Press, Public Relations Ministry of Aviation, Oluseyi Odutayo, proved abortive.

Responses to messages sent to their telephone lines were still being expected as of press time on Sunday.


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