By Emma Amaize
WARRI—THE Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has directed the 36 states’ Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs, to liaise with security agencies in their respective states to set up prosecution departments in their offices.
Vanguard gathered that the chairman of the Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, conveyed the instruction to the RECs in a recent memo.
Cross River State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Mike Igini, confirmed, weekend, at Kokori in Delta State at a reception for him by the Urhobo For Free and Fair Elections, 2011 Forum, that he was in receipt of the memo from his boss.
He said, INEC was not prepared to allow election riggers go free in the 2011 polls and so, the national chairman had ordered that each REC should liaise with security agencies in their states to have a strong department on ground for prosecution of electoral offenders.
Igini, said while the Commission was awaiting the inauguration of the special tribunals to try election riggers, it was going ahead to put in place prosecution departments on ground, so as not leave any stone unturned.
According to him, “some people don’t know that in the new electoral law, if you sell the voters’ card, that is issued to you, you will go to jail for two years and INEC is not going to wait for anybody to ensure that you go to jail for such offence, that is why we are to liaise with security agencies, who will pick the people up and we will prosecute them because we don’t want anybody to make the offender(s) to escape conviction,” he said.
He further said, “for me, I want the Federal Government to build more prisons to harbor electoral offenders because INEC is prepared to send as many as would want to rig the 2011 elections to jail.”
Igini stated that the national chairman and all the RECs were determined to conduct free and credible polls, next year, and urged all those who may be planning to rig the elections to have a rethink.
His words, “No matter how long the law had been violated before, this time around, there is determination to apply the law, we want to build more prisons for electoral riggers. Nigerians above 18 years should all come out to register; people should register in the registration centres near their homes for those are where they will vote on election days”.