By Onitsha Shedrack, —————
The panel set up by the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Mr Ibrahim Idris to investigate the alleged bribing of Independent National Electoral Commission, INCE, officials during the last Rerun election in Rivers State, today in Abuja said it recovered more than N111 million from 23 electoral officials allegedly given to them to rig the polls.
The Nigeria Police Force said it recovered more than N111 million from electoral officials alleged to have been bribed by Rivers state governor to rig the December 10,2016 legislative rerun elections in the state.
The chairman of the panel, DCP Damian Okoro disclosed that,” the sum total of N111.3 million was recovered from 23 electoral officials out of N360m allegedly given to the INEC officials as bribed by Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike to rig the December 10,2016 legislative rerun elections in the state
He said that some got N15 million each while three senior electoral officers got N20 million each.
He further alleged that there were some cases of misconduct on the part of some electoral officers, who were compromised in the line of duty.
“By this investigation, this panel has diligently unraveled what went wrong with the re-run election in Rivers, the details of which are contained in the report.
“We discovered that failure of leadership and followership rather than law enforcement was responsible for the political upheaval in the state,” Okoro said.
He added that the task given to the panel was challenging because of the tense political and security atmosphere in the state.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police said that lawless elements targeted political opponents of their sponsors, and law enforcement agents, especially the police.
He attributed some of the violent acts to inflammatory statements by some narrow-minded politicians.
“Apart from their utterances, politicians in their desperation for power, also armed thugs who unleashed terror on their opponents,” he said, pointing out that six police officers, who were indicted, had been tried and dismissed from the force.
In his remarks, the IGP said that a report and recommendation would be forwarded to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice for his advice.
He said appropriate action would be taken against indicted persons to serve as deterrent.
“We are going to take appropriate action in conjunction with other security agencies to put an end to this problem,’’ he said, urging Nigerians to have confidence in the security agencies and believe the panel report.
Idris stated that Governor Wike refused to cooperate with the panel even when the team visited him in Port Harcourt, the Rivers capital.
He said that the investigation would go a long way toward ending electoral malpractices in the country.
“We will be failing in this country if we allow this to continue,’’ he said, disclosing that the recovered money would be paid into government coffers.
“The Will Nigeria”