INEC finally takes action against suspended Adawama REC
The Independent National Electoral Commission has instituted a legal action against the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Adamawa state, Hudu Ari.
Recall that Ari caused a furore in March after he declared Aisha Binani of the All Progressives Congress as the winner of the Adamawa gubernatorial election while the collation of results was still ongoing.
Consequently, he went into hiding after the declaration as security agencies declared him wanted.
He was later arrested by the police over his conduct during the governorship poll in Adamawa. He was subsequently granted bail.
However, the electoral umpire on Thursday said it has charged Ari to court.
The commission disclosed that it had gone through the case file sent to it by the police and had filed a six-count charge against Ari
The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of the commission, Festus Okoye, made this known in a statement on Thursday.
He added that the case would be heard at the Adamawa State High Court on July 12, 2023, assuring Nigerians of “immediate action on the matter”.
The statement read, “INEC held its regular weekly meeting today, Thursday, July 6, 2023, and discussed, among other issues, the progress with the prosecution of electoral offenders.
“It would be recalled that at the meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners two days ago on Tuesday, July 4, 2023, the Commission confirmed the receipt of case files from the Nigeria Police following the conclusion of the investigation into alleged electoral offences during the 2023 General Election, including the one involving the Resident Electoral Commissioner, deployed to Adamawa State, Hudu Ari.
“As provided by Section 145(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, an offence committed under the Act shall be triable in a Magistrate Court or a High Court of the State in which the offence is committed, or the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“Furthermore, Section 145(2) of the Act provides that a prosecution under the Act shall be undertaken by legal officers of the Commission or any legal practitioner appointed by it. Having reviewed the case file from the Police which established a prima facie case against Ari, the Commission has filed a six-count charge against him at the Adamawa State High Court sitting in Yola. Consequently, the Court has fixed Wednesday 12th July 2023 for commencement of trial.”
He, however, said the commission was working with the Nigerian Bar Association for the swift and diligent prosecution of other cases