The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has come under pressure to release some agents of the ruling All Progressives Congress engaging in vote-buying during Saturday’s governorship election in Ekiti State.
The EFCC was part of the security agencies deployed to monitor the election.
On Saturday, SaharaReporters reported how operatives of the anti-graft agency arrested some APC agents for engaging in vote-buying during the poll.
Some of them were paraded at Oke Ori Omi Area Division of the Nigeria Police Force.
They were said to have been caught with monies allegedly used to induce voters, an act the EFCC officials say was carried out surreptitiously.
The EFCC thereafter proceeded to bust another residence where some persons were caught with a book containing details of voters of a certain voting area.
At the end of the poll, Biodun Oyebanji of the APC won the election.
A source on Monday said top leaders in the ruling party, APC, are mounting pressure on the chairman of the EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa to order the release of those arrested.
He was also asked to drop all charges against the suspect.
“We’re under pressure to release those APC agents found with cash and arrested for vote-buying and not to charge them to court.
“There have been calls from top politicians asking us to free them despite existing laws in the Electoral Act which forbid the inducement of voters,” a source in the anti-graft agency told SaharaReporters.
Anti-corruption Groups Kick
Speaking to SaharaReporters, the Executive Director of Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo asked the anti-graft agency to resist the pressure from the ruling party.
“The EFCC should resist the pressure from the APC. No one is above the law. As an institution created by law, I urge the EFCC to ensure diligent prosecution in holding the suspects to account for their illegal and unlawful behaviour,” he said.
“The only way to address institutionalised impunity is to ensure any individual or group of individuals who exhibit criminal behaviour is sanctioned in line with the law.”
Speaking also, the Chairman of the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), Debo Adeniran asked the EFCC to ensure that no offender gets released without prosecution.
“I believe that EFCC knows what to do, there is no time EFCC and other anti-graft agencies don’t have pressure on them when they arrest those involved in corrupt practices, so it’s not supposed to be new to them. They are the ones that should do the needful, and not be seen as accomplices.
“Because if truly they caught those engaged in vote-buying and they have good evidence and witnesses against them, there is no reason why they should succumb to any pressure.
“Politicians will always want to eat their cake and have it. It is the anti-corruption agency, EFCC in this case that should follow the part of honour and ensure that no offender goes scot-free,” he told SaharaReporters.