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SERAP sues INEC over failure to prosecute electoral offenders in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa



The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has filed a lawsuit against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over its failure to arrest and prosecute suspected electoral offenders during the governorship elections in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa states.

This was contained in a press release made available on Sunday, December 17, 2023.

The suit, numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/1694/2023, was filed last Friday at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

In it, SERAP sought, “an order of mandamus to direct and compel INEC to probe the allegations of electoral offences including electoral violence, in the off-cycle governorship elections in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa states.”

They also sought “an order of mandamus to compel INEC to disclose spending details on the off-cycle governorship elections in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa States, including the specific amount spent to conduct voter and civic education and details of the activities carried out in the three states.”

They argued that there was a legitimate public interest in ensuring accountability for the grave electoral offences in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa states and granting the reliefs would compel INEC to live up to its constitutional and statutory responsibilities and end the impunity of electoral offenders.

SERAP noted, “the recurring cases of electoral bribery and violence make a mockery of Nigeria’s electoral process and participatory democracy.

According to SERAP, “Unless INEC is compelled to arrest and prosecute suspected electoral offenders and their sponsors in the elections Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa states, perpetrators would continue to enjoy impunity for their crimes.”

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In a related development, the Rivers State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has condemned the political crisis currently rocking the state as a result of the personality clash between Governor Siminalayi Fubara and immediate past state governor Nyesom Wike.

To this end, the labour union has threatened to take legal action over the crisis which it says is adversely affecting workers’ welfare in the state.

The state NLC Chairman, Alex Agwanwo, who made the stance of the Union known after a joint organised labour meeting in Port Harcourt on Saturday, said the crisis was a plot to distract the governor from delivering good governance to the state, while also calling on those involved to stay in action in the interest of the state workers.

“We categorically condemn in totality the crisis in Rivers State and we call for immediate peace between all the political actors involved, so that we can have peace and prosperity in the state,” Agwanwo said while addressing the press.

“Honestly, this crisis is not helping us. When two elephants fight, the grass suffers. As workers, we are feeling the impact.

“The state is tensed. Our members are beginning to complain about the uprising and how their welfare is now being delayed.

“The N35,000 wage has been implemented by the Federal Government, but the state workers are yet to benefit from it.

“We have been engaging the state governor on how to implement this, but due to this crisis, the governor has not been able to have time with us. He has been very busy. For us, this distraction must stop.

“It is affecting governance, because the crisis has not given the governor time to concentrate on the issues of state. In this is festive period, we expected that workers would rejoice because, we hoped that we would been paid the 13th month which has not happened in this state for years.

“This is what we wanted to discuss with the governor, but with these distractions, we have not been able to meet with the governor who has proven that he is workers friendly.

“If this whole crisis continues and the political actors will not allow peace to reign in this state, workers will have no choice but to make effort to protect the benefits of our members. We will take every step legally to make sure we advance the course of our members,” he added.

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