The Independent National Electoral Commission is set to send letters to Nigerian Bar Association lawyers this week, initiating the prosecution of individuals apprehended during the previous general elections held in February and March.
A senior official within the electoral body disclosed on Monday that the issuance of these letters was slightly delayed due to the recent off-cycle governorship elections in Imo, Kogi, and Bayelsa states over the weekend.
Now that the elections are concluded, the official, who wished to remain anonymous, mentioned that the appointed prosecutors should expect to receive their letters.
Following the earlier report by The PUNCH regarding the delay in prosecuting offenders from the general elections—where INEC had received 215 case files from the police—the electoral body had pledged swift prosecution in collaboration with the Nigerian Bar Association.
However, last week, INEC clarified that out of the 215 cases, only 197 were related to electoral offenses, while the remaining 18 were categorized as different crimes, such as murder, falling outside its jurisdiction.
Providing an update on Monday, the senior INEC official informed The PUNCH that the lawyers designated for prosecution should have received their letters by now if it weren’t for the off-cycle elections conducted on Saturday.
He said, “Well, because of the off-cycle elections that took place in the Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo states, the officer who is supposed to correct some of the letters travelled to one of the states (Imo State).
“Hopefully, the letter will be issued to the lawyers this week.”
When asked if the electoral offenders are on bail or in custody, he noted “I believe they are on bail but they can be brought to their various courts through their respective sureties when the prosecutions commence.”