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EFCC Speaks On Vote Buying, Blames Both Politicians And Voters For The Unlawful Act

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has reiterated its commitment to fight against vote buying during the 2023 general election.

Naija News reports that the anti-graft agency, on Friday in Abuja at an event to commemorate the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day 2022, said that the commission knows the importance of transparent, free, and fair elections and that is why it is doing all it can curb the menace of vote buying at the forthcoming polls.

The EFCC Chairman Abdulrasheed Bawa revealed that the agency as part of moves to eliminate and prevent vote buying is working with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies.

He noted that the anti-corruption fight against vote buying is to ensure free and fair elections in 2023, which he said is in the interest of Nigerians.

Bawa, who was represented by the commission’s Director of Operations, Abdulkarim Chukkol blamed both the political class who offered money and the voters who sell their votes for a pittance.

He added that it was rather unfortunate that the unlawful act of vote trading was caused by the tragedy of recent elections in Nigeria.

The EFCC boss observed that the EFCC in recent times had been involved in efforts to discourage the use of money to influence election outcomes.

Bawa noted that “The consequence of the latter category is harsh. When electorates sell their votes, they lose the moral ground to ask for accountable leadership.

“Some politicians, who distributed huge sums of money to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential poll, are still being prosecuted by the commission, while hundreds of millions of naira were recovered.

“The commission in 2019 deployed operatives in polling stations across the country in a deliberate move to check the inducement of voters by desperate politicians and candidates. Arrests were made and many have been prosecuted and convictions recorded.

“Similar measures were taken during the Ekiti and Osun state elections recently and the recently concluded primary elections of the political parties as well; the commission’s operatives were deployed to convention grounds to prevent election inducement of party delegates.

“These actually go a long way to demonstrate the commission’s commitment to reducing, if not eliminating the use of money to manipulate the electoral process.

“As the 2023 general elections approach, the EFCC assures all Nigerians that it will do all within its powers, working with relevant stakeholders, particularly INEC and law enforcement agencies, to discourage vote-buying or voter inducement.”

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