22 March 2019

Nigeria: Vote Buying - EFCC Arraigns Suspect

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday, arraigned a suspect, Abdusalam Abdulkadiri, at the Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin for allegedly conspiring with one Oye Obalola to provide N120,000 with the intent of corruptly influence votes for a particular political party.

Obalola is said to be at large while Abdulkadiri was also accused of providing N120,000 to be used at polling unit 007 in Kwara State College of Education, Ilorin contrary to sections 124/5 and 130/8 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.

The accused however pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Responding to the defendant's not-guilty plea, counsel to EFCC, Nnemka Omewa, said "the defendant having pleaded not guilty to the two count charge, we humbly ask for his trial and urge the court to remand him in prison custody."

But defendant counsel O.S Mohammed objected and prayed the court to grant the accused person bail as the offence is bailable.

"The issue of bail is purely a discretionary power of the court no matter the severity of the offence or the punishment. Once the court is satisfied the accused person will make himself available to stand his trial, he may be admitted to bail.

"I urge the court to admit the accused person to bail pending his trial, because at this stage and going by Section 36 sub-section 5 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, he is still presumed innocent.

"I also submit that Section 170 of the Kwara State Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2018 provides a defendant that is charged with an offence which its punishment with less than three years shall be entitled to bail unless the court sees reasons to the contrary.

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