The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has promised to collaborate with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in order to curb vote buying during the 2023 general election.
The EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, made the pledge while answering questions from reporters after defending the agency’s 2023 budget before the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes.
He said the commission would work closely with INEC to ensure strict compliance with the Electoral Act by Nigerians and the politicians.
Bawa said: “The Electoral Act has already made provisions for what is financially acceptable in campaign financing and I think that is the law of the land.
“Nigerians are law abiding and the EFCC is working towards ensuring that all of that is complied with by all Nigerians and politicians and we are working with INEC and other stakeholders to ensure that happens.
“We will continue to do what we have to do. We are trying to be sure illegitimate funds are not finding their way into our own electoral processes.
“And for those that are buying votes, we will continue to arrest them. We will walk hands in gloves with INEC to ensure that they are prosecuted.”
The INEC chairman described the plan by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to redesign the nation’s currency as a welcome development.
He said: “We welcome the policy. It is a good thing that the country is redesigning its currency now.
“How can you have an effective monetary policy when you don’t have control of 85 per cent of your currency?
“People are hoarding and using it to speculate for foreign exchange. By coming with this policy, the government is trying to curtail that and ensure that those people that are bringing back all these monies, whether legitimately or illegitimately, and be able to monitor and then the law will take its course.”
He dismissed the alleged plan by ‘Yahoo’ Boys to stage a nationwide protest against the anti-graft body.
Bawa said such an action would not stop the commission from fighting against cyber crime which is currently tarnishing the image of the country.
According to him, “These are Nigerians from my own constituency – the youthful constituency. They should join me in fighting the scourge of cyber crime. It bleeds my heart when they are doing somethings that ordinarily they should not do.
“We are working. It is part of our mandate to fight cyber crime and advance fee fraud and those are things we have been doing. We are working in conformity with the law.
“As at the 22nd of October his year, we have succeeded in securing 2,847 convictions and over 70 per cent of them have to do with the issue of cyber crime.
“The activities of these cyber criminals is tarnishing our image by the day. Across the Atlantic, people are trying to see us as a cyber crime-infested country which I believe we are not and it is based on maybe the high number of population that you tend to see that we are doing one or two things in that area.
“But we are working. We are not deterred. We will continue to do what what we have to do.
“I am pleading with them that they shouldn’t be doing things at this part of the transition of the country in terms of elections and in terms of government’s effort in trying to see that the country is back on track.”