The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have appointed two Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) and 16 other lawyers to prosecute all electoral offences relating to financial crimes arising from the 2023 general elections. This move aims to curb electoral offences and ensure that culprits are brought to justice.
According to a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the lawyers are all legal officers of both INEC and the EFCC. They will prosecute all persons who were arrested during the elections on behalf of the two institutions. Most of the lawyers played similar roles after the 2019 general elections.
The first SAN on the list is Abdulaziz Sani, who is from the legal department of the electoral umpire. The other SAN is Rotimi Oyedepo, a popular prosecutor with the anti-graft agency. The remaining 16 lawyers include Nasara H. Auta, Odinaka Ikoroha, Adeyemi Olufemi, Mahmud Tafarki, Ahmed Mohammed, Amaka Okwuaka, Enoch M. Akafa, and Temple Ukaegbu, among others.
In March 2023, the EFCC revealed that it arrested no fewer than 65 persons on March 18 across the 28 states where governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections were conducted for alleged voter inducement. INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had also announced that the commission set up a legal team to deal with cases of electoral offenders during the February 25 presidential and National Assembly polls.
The appointment of the SANs and lawyers will aid in ensuring that electoral offences are dealt with appropriately, and those who engage in financial crimes during elections are brought to book. The move is a positive step towards building a credible electoral process that will guarantee free and fair elections in Nigeria