Nigeria’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has confirmed the filing of charges against Resident Electoral Commissioner Hudu Yunusa Ari, in a statement released on Thursday, 6th July 2023.
This confirmation is contained in a press statement signed by Festus Okoye, the National Commissioner and Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee.
The matter was discussed in the INEC’s regular weekly meeting, which includes a review of the ongoing prosecution of various electoral offences. The case against Mr. Ari, who was deployed to Adamawa State for the 2023 General Election, came to light following a police investigation into allegations of electoral misconduct.
The INEC confirmed receipt of the case files from the Nigerian Police two days prior, on 4th July 2023. The Commission reassured the Nigerian public of immediate action regarding the situation.
Under the Electoral Act 2022, any offence committed shall be triable in either a Magistrate Court or a High Court of the state where the offence was committed, or the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The act also states that prosecution under this law will be carried out by the legal officers of the Commission, or any appointed legal practitioner.
Following a review of the police case file, which established a prima facie case against Mr. Ari, the INEC has now filed a six-count charge against him in the Adamawa State High Court in Yola. The trial is set to commence on Wednesday, 12th July 2023.
In the meantime, the Commission is partnering with the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to ensure the diligent prosecution of other cases.