- A group has alleged that commercialisation of votes took place in the presence of policemen, during the Ekiti governorship election
- It said it was an anomaly for policemen to look the other way when such criminal acts were taking place
- The group disclosed that it is open to taking the Police to court for encouraging impunity
The Human Rights Advancement, Development and Advocacy Centre (HURIDAC) has expressed concern about the impunity and commercialisation of votes which was witnessed during the recently conducted Ekiti gubernatorial election.
The group expressed its sentiments via its director, Shina Loremikan, in a report sent to Punch on Monday, July 23.
NAIJ.com gathers that Loremikan stated that purchase of votes at polling booths, even in the presence of policemen, was witnessed by observers sent by his organisation to monitor the election.
The group’s legal director, Kazeem Aminu, opined that it was an anomaly for policemen to look the other way when votes were being bought and sold at polling booths.
He stated: “There were concerns on the role of the Police with regards to the commercialisation of votes, as, in many instances, vote-buying and selling took place in the presence of the Police.
“When an act that could be interpreted as a crime is taking place in the presence of law enforcement officers, it is in line with the law that the Police must arrest the situation, though we understand the complication and complexities; but the Police can’t look the other way when votes are being bought.”
The organisation also disclosed that if its ongoing investigation established the violation of rights of citizens, including Governor Ayodele Fayose, who claimed to have been molested by the Police a day before the election, it might institute legal action against the security agency.
It added: “Though the Police, in many media interviews, have said that the governor’s human right was not violated by the Police, we witnessed the tear gas around the government house. We are still investigating whether this constitutes excessive use of force in dispersing the crowd.
“It is important to note that if the governor’s version of the story is true, the Police must prosecute those officers that slapped and violated the rights of the governor.
“However, if the Police believe that this is not the true version, the Police have the responsibility to bring to justice, those who intentionally misled the public and incited them against the government. The governor and its cohorts should be brought to book once their immunity ceases.
“HURIDAC is open to taking the Police to court for encouraging impunity. Whichever aspect of the incident is true, the culprit must be brought to book and the victims must receive justice.”
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com previously reported that the Nigerian Human Rights Community (NHRC) declared that vote-buying in the Saturday, July 14 Ekiti state gubernatorial election had no impact on the outcome of the election.
NHRC, which monitored the election, made its observation in a statement signed by Taiwo Adeleye and Comrade Sola Ajayi among others.
The group stated that its observers observed a culture of bribery and corruption in the electoral system. However, it said such practice was not new.
Were Ekiti Residents Paid to Vote? | on NAIJ.com TV: