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SERAP Drags INEC To Court Over Failure To Prosecute Electoral Offenders In Kogi, Imo, Bayelsa



The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The group’s suit followed the alleged failure of the electoral body to “arrest and prosecute suspected perpetrators of grave electoral offences in the recently concluded off-cycle governorship elections in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa states.”

This was disclosed in a statement on Sunday by SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare.

In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1694/2023 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court in Abuja, SERAP is seeking: “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.”

It also wants “an order of mandamus to compel INEC to promptly and effectively prosecute suspected perpetrators of these grave electoral offences, and bring to justice anyone who sponsored, aided and abetted them.”

The group also prays the court 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.

“There is a legitimate public interest in ensuring accountability for the grave electoral offences in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa states. Granting the reliefs sought would compel INEC to live up to its constitutional and statutory responsibilities and end the impunity of electoral offenders,” the statement read.

“The recurring cases of electoral bribery and violence make a mockery of Nigeria’s electoral process and participatory democracy. The electoral offences in Bayelsa, Kogi and Imo states show that INEC has learnt little or nothing from the well-documented problems during the 2023 general elections.

“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.”

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

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