Governorship Elections in 2023: The EFCC arrests 65 people for alleged vote-buying.



The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, or EFCC, has arrested 65 people in 28 states for alleged vote-buying in governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections.


Wilson Uwujaren, the EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, revealed this in a statement on Saturday.


According to the agency, 20 of the suspects were apprehended by Ilorin Zonal Command operatives, while 13 were apprehended by Kaduna Zonal Command operatives on election monitoring duty.


Uwujaren stated that the teams monitoring the polls in the Port Harcourt Zone arrested a total of 12 people for various offences relating to bribing voters to vote for their preferred candidates, while the Uyo Zonal Command made four arrests in Calabar, adding that the remaining suspects were apprehended in Gombe, Sokoto, Kebbi, and Niger states.

He stated that those apprehended in Kaduna include ten males and three females, and that they were apprehended by intelligence operatives.


“A suspect allegedly involved in vote buying was apprehended at School Road, Unguwan Rimi Kaduna,” Uwujaren said. The suspect, who initially resisted arrest, is now being held in custody until the investigation is completed.


“Also in Kaduna, the tam led by Esmond Garba apprehended one Buhari Muhammed in the PU 002 Dogara Yaro Dagari area. He was apprehended with voter coupons, which he admitted would be used to track down and compensate those who voted for his party.


“Furthermore, the team monitoring the voting exercise around LEA Kabala Doki, Kaduna led by CSE Wakilu Omokide also arrested two individuals suspected of vote buying. Upon their arrest, a total of N67, 500, as well as a list of voters’ names, PVC numbers, and bank account information, were recovered from them.”


The anti-graft agency’s spokesperson stated that the investigation has revealed that the suspects’ main mode of operation is to give cash, transfer money, coupons, and send recharge cards to eligible voters in order to induce them to vote for their candidates.


“A search of their persons and phones revealed that most of them had transferred money into the accounts of some voters on the lists recovered from them. Voter cards, money, and a list of voters’ names and account numbers were among the items recovered from the suspects. “Some are recharge cards,” he explained.


Similarly, officers from the Kaduna Command arrested two people in Niger State for alleged vote buying. Based on intelligence, the first suspect, Umar Ibrahim, was apprehended at the Peter Sarki Road polling unit.


“Upon searching his vehicle, an INEC ID tag (domestic election observer) bearing his name and photograph and also a letter of appointment from BOS (Bago Support Organisation) as Director Liaison, were uncovered. On further questioning, he revealed that the INEC ID tag was given to him by a certain Mr. Usman Mohammed, a member of his political party.


“The second suspect, Isa Salihu Bababida, was apprehended at Unguwar Nassarawa with a list of names, account numbers, and BVN,” Uwujaren added.


He also revealed that in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, election monitoring teams arrested ten suspects suspected of voter bribery at Moscow Road, Elekahia Township, Mile 2, Ward 2 polling Unit 2 and 30, Ogbum, Phalga, Port Harcourt.


According to him, the suspects were apprehended with A4 papers containing the names, phone numbers, and bank account numbers of people suspected of being voters. Also arrested were two youths suspected of voter enticement at Ward 2 Polling Unit 2 and 30, Ogbum, PHALGA, Port Harcourt City.


The EFCC PRO also stated that the four people arrested in Calabar by the Uyo Zonal Command team led by Binta Rano volunteered their statements at the Criminal Investigation Department, Cross River State Police Command.


“The team arrested one Esther Edem, the Woman Leader of one of the political parties for Ward 11, Calabar South, Cross River State, as well as two others, Edet Etim and Asanwana Eyo, for alleged vote buying in Calabar,” he added.


“The Woman Leader, who had a list of suspected voters, their account numbers, and thousands of Naira in cash, was apprehended inside an unfinished building beside her ward in Calabar South, while Etim and Eyo were arrested at Ward 12, Unit 11, at Kings Memorial School by Inyang Street, Abasi Obori, Calabar South.


“The duo of Etim and Eyo had their own lists and money, which they allegedly used to buy votes.”


Adekunle Ademola, Wasiu Raimi, Laaro Rasheed, Alagbe Taiwo, Boniface Victory, Kayode Toba, Adeoye Adetunji, Lawal Favour, Abidoye Moradeyo, Magaji Iliasu, Abdulkadir Abdulmumini, and Musa Olasunkanmi are among the 20 suspects apprehended by the Ilorin Zonal Command.


Marudeen Sadiq, Abogunrin Oluwasesan, Funmilayo Lawal, Olawuyi Bolarin, Garuba Ismail, Abiola Abogunrin, Amidu Tiamiyu, and Usman Abdulazeez are among the others.


“The suspects who were arrested at different polling units across the state, were caught with incriminating items including cash of various sums, notebook containing list of voters names, POS machine, mobile phones and voter cards, among others.


“During questioning, some of the suspects identified themselves as party agents, while others admitted distributing money to entice voters.” He stated.


Meanwhile, the EFCC PRO added that in Gombe, the Gombe Zonal Command, led by Faruk Dogondaji, arrested 10 people for alleged voter inducement and recovered 43 wrappers and N1, 923,900 in cash.


He did, however, state that investigations into the culpability of each suspect are still ongoing.


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