The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to prosecute any of its staff member found to have committed any offence related to its mandate.
INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, made the appeal during a meeting with the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, at the anti-corruption agency’s headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
The called followed the suspension of 205 members of staff of the electoral body, for their alleged involvement in fraud during the 2015 general elections.
Professor Yakubu said it took the INEC about four months to thoroughly investigate all the allegations contained in the interim report it received from the anti-graft agency, before a final decision could be reached.
He asked the EFCC to commence the prosecution of any staff without waiting for the conclusion of INEC’s internal investigation, if it has sufficient evidence to do so.
“If we get our elections right, we will get our democracy right; and if we get our democracy right, we will attain real development as a nation,” he told Mr Magu.
He assured the EFCC of INEC readiness to join it in creating more awareness on the consequences of corruption as a preventive measure.
According to the INEC Chairman, sensitisation is a cheaper way of fighting corruption, since it is capable of discouraging potential offenders from taking dangerous risks.
“We shall look at ways of partnering with the EFCC on this,” he said in statement issued by his spokesman, Rotimi Oyekanmi.
In his response, Mr Magu said the EFCC regards corruption as “a crime against humanity”, lauding Professor Yakubu for cooperating with the anti-graft agency in the cases involving some INEC staff.
“We are already prosecuting some INEC staff in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano and Gombe states. In the future, before we take any such case to court, we will inform INEC and share details of the Charge Sheet with you.
“And if you have anybody in your Legal Department that wants to join our prosecution team, such persons are welcome. This will add value to work,” he noted.
The EFCC boss also commended the INEC management for its decisive action on the allegation, saying: “When you take actions like these, you are reducing our work and as far as the fight against corruption is concerned, we (EFCC and INEC) are on the same page”.