Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has headed to court, accusing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of ‘failure to put Ekiti vote buyers on trial.’
The Human rights group in a statement signed on Sunday by its deputy director, Timothy Adewale, said the electoral body has failed to ‘do something’ about the allegations of vote buying by both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during recent governorship election in Ekiti State.
In the suit which was filed on Friday at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, SERAP said it is seeking “an order for leave to apply for judicial review and to seek an order of mandamus compelling INEC and its Chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu to instruct security agencies to forward to them, reports of their investigations into allegations of vote buying during the governorship election in Ekiti State.”
They are also seeking collaboration with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to commence prosecution of suspected vote buyers.
SERAP said the court action was necessary after the electoral body noted that it had powers to prosecute alleged vote buyers but lacked the powers to arrest and investigate the suspects.
SERAP added that the Acting Secretary of INEC, Okechukwu Ndeche, said recently that while the Commission’s legal officers or any legal practitioner appointed by it “can prosecute alleged vote buying, other agencies must first arrest and investigate suspects before the Commission can act on the matter.”
The human rights group is also seeking an order compelling INEC and its Chairman to “prosecute anyone suspected to be involved and/or complicit in the alleged vote-buying during the elections in Ekiti State, Anambra State, Edo State and Ondo State.”
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.