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Rivers Rerun: Police panel recovers N111m from INEC officials

By Wahab Akanji, Abuja

Over #111 million was recovered from 23 officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) who were involved in the recent rerun of parliamentary election in River State, the Police said on Tuesday.

The unnamed officials have been indicted for their involvement in the incidents and violence that occurred during t election.

Also, six police officers who were indicted over the role they played during the election have been dismissed.

The findings were contained in the report of the Joint Investigation Panel constituted by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris on the 22nd of December and presented at the Force Headquarters in Abuja.

The panel which comprises of 12 officers of the Nigeria Police Force and three from State Security Service was mandated to investigate the various infractions, incidents, and violence that marred the re-run elections in Rivers State and any relevant matter.

The Panel attributed the violence caused during the election to lawlessness and leadership failure.

Speaking during the presentation, the chairman of the 15-man panel, DCP Damian Okoro said: “the sum of #111,300,000 was recovered from 23 INEC Electoral. Out of #360million, 15 million was given to each of them while three senior Electoral Officers we’re given #20million each.”

Okoro said the committee established “cases of misconduct on the part of some Electoral Officers and law enforcement agents who unfortunately allowed themselves to be compromised in their line of duties and deserve to be disciplined appropriately.”

Speaking further, he explained that “the task given to the panel was quite challenging because of the tense political and security situation in the State especially the prevalence of violent crimes such as armed robbery, kidnapping, and politically motivated killings, by militant and culture groups that enjoy the funding and protection of desperate politicians.

“These lawless elements target not only the political opponents of their sponsors but also law enforcement agents, especially the Police, mostly within the Ogba/Ndoni/Egbema Local Government Area which is the axis of evils of cultism.

“The violence that occurred in Rivers State, before during and after the Rerun election was a reflection of lawlessness and leadership failure of narrow -minded politicians and their gullible supporters. Oftentimes, politicians make inflammatory statements that incite their supporters into avoidable violence that results in the destruction of lives and properties and eruption of elections.

“Regrettably, these politicians often fail to realize that as very important personalities in their own right, they are the embodiment of some values cherished by their supporters.

“Apart from their utterances, politicians in their desperation for political power also arm thugs and unleash terror on their opponents. When motivated, by their sponsors these criminal elements can do anything to further the political aspirations of their principals including extra- judicial killings and riffing of elections with impunity.

He further said: “We discovered that failure of leadership and followership rather than law enforcement was responsible for political upheaval in the state.

A source close to the investigation confirmed that forensic analysis showed that Governor Nyesom Wike’s voice the one in a controversial tape that went viral on the social media following its leakage to an online media.

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