Femi Falana, a human rights attorney and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has requested that a thorough investigation be done into the alleged 2 billion naira enticement that followed the contentious proclamation of the winner of the Adamawa State by-election on Sunday.
The candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the election, Aishatu ‘Binani’ Dahiru, who was earlier declared winner by the embattled Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state, Hudu Yunusa Ari had denied bribery allegations levelled against her.
READ ALSO: Adamawa REC: Binani Denied N2bn Bribe Allegation, Says I’ll Never Subvert Democratic Process
However, speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Thursday, Falana said Binani’s denial is not enough.
“There are allegations that the sum of 2billion naira is fetching hands, so it is not enough for Binani to deny, there must be an investigation,” Falana said.
The senior advocate said that Binani’s acceptance speech proved she was complicit in the chaos and that those responsible for the announcement of Binani as the winner should be investigated and prosecuted.
“Was there inducement? That has to be investigated. The officers who were at the high table with Mr Yunusa Ari, the commissioner of Police, the Director of the State Security Service, and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
“All those involved in the criminality that occurred, they all have to be tried under the law. It is not enough for the IGP to simply redeploy the commissioner of police involved or for the director of state security to be withdrawn from the state.
“This is not the first time that it has happened, there have been false declarations of results before now,” he said.
Falana applauded INEC for acting quickly to guarantee that the correct response was put into place, saying that without comprehensive action, impunity and aberrations will continue to be perpetrated.
He claims that in order to ensure that individuals who broke the law are held accountable, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) must get involved.
“The EFCC and the ICPC will have to be brought in to investigate the allegations of inducement of the sum of 2 billion naira. It is also in the interest of the APC candidate to ensure this matter is fully investigated.
“The IGP would have to speed up the investigation. By now, we expect him (Adamawa REC) to have been arrested and if he cannot be found, they have to get a court order to declare him wanted.
“All the security officers involved will have to be investigated and prosecuted. INEC has done the right thing by suspending him so that he does not further taint the democratic process.”
The SAN stated that the law recommended strict sanction for any form of electoral conspiracy, malfeasance and financial inducement.
“The law is very clear on this matter, under section 120 subsection 4 of the electoral act. For any false declaration of the results of the election, anybody involved is liable to be prosecuted and the penalty is three years imprisonment which for me is not stringent enough.
“There is also section 121 of the Electoral Act which prescribes 12 months imprisonment for financial inducement with regards to elections.”
Furthermore, he urged that the Adamawa REC be subject to disciplinary proceedings by the Nigerian Bar Association’s legal practitioner disciplinary committee working with INEC.
“The Nigerian Bar Association has to come in, the NBA has to write a petition, to the legal practitioner disciplinary committee for immediate sanction to serve as a lesson because he has brought the legal profession into disrepute.”