INEC boss Mahmood Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called for the arrest and prosecution of vote buyers and their sponsors by security agencies.

The electoral body Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, stated this in Abuja on Saturday while speaking on the commission’s preparedness to conduct free, fair and credible elections in the country in 2019.

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Yakubu said the commission had partnered with the police and other security and anti-graft agencies to arrest anybody caught engaging in the vote buying since INEC lacked the power to solely investigate and prosecute vote buyers.

The INEC chairman argued that elections were more credible in the country than before, noting that there had been general improvement in the process.

Yakubu said, “Some of the infractions take place as the voters move from the voting cubicles to the ballot boxes. Honestly, some of the agents of the vote buyers are among agents of political parties.

“To successfully prosecute vote buyers after arrest, we have to investigate first. INEC has no capacity to investigate vote buyers, and that is why we cannot prosecute them. That is why we are partnering with security agencies to achieve this.

“We have done so with some success. In some of the state constituency elections we conducted in Kano State in 2016, we worked with the police and successfully prosecuted over 40 electoral offenders. It is the highest in the history of the commission.

“The hoodlums at the polling units must have their sponsors prosecuted. If we don’t prosecute them, the problem will keep festering.”