An investigative Panel set up by the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim Idris, to look into the Rivers State legislative re-run election, has recovered millions of Naira from corrupt officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Chairman of the panel, Damian Okoro, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, made the disclosure on Tuesday while presenting the panel’s report to the IGP at the Force Headquarters, Abuja.
Okoro alleged that three senior INEC officers received N20 million each while others received N15 million from Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike in order to influence the election.
He noted that a total of N360 million was used to bribe several electoral officers by Governor Wike, out of which the panel was able to recover N111 million.
“By this investigation, this panel has diligently unraveled what went wrong with the re-run election in Rivers,” Okoro said.
“We discovered that failure of leadership and followership rather than law enforcement was responsible for the political upheaval in the state,” he said.
Okoro also noted that the assignment was not an easy one considering the tense political and security atmosphere in Rivers state.
He pointed out that the crisis in the state before, during and immediately after the elections was largely due to inflammatory statements by politicians.
“Apart from their utterances, politicians in their desperation for power, also armed thugs who unleashed terror on their opponents,” he added.
The panel chairman also said that 6 police officers had been tried and dismissed from the force for the parts they played in the electoral violence.
In his response, IGP Idris said that the Force will forward the committee’s report and recommendation to the office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, adding that commensurate action would be taken against indicted persons to serve as deterrent.
“We are going to take appropriate action in conjunction with other security agencies to put an end to this problem.
“We will be failing in this country if we allow this to continue,’’ he said.
The Police boss alleged that Governor Wike refused to cooperate with the panel even when the team visited him in Port Harcourt.
He also expressed optimism that the investigation would go a long way toward ending electoral malpractices in the country.
Idris added that the recovered money would be paid into government coffers.
The 15-man special joint investigation panel was formed on December 22, 2016, following the December 10 legislative re-run election in Rivers State that was roundly marred by irregularities and violence.
It was made up of 12 police officers and three officials of the Department of State Services, DSS.