The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), on Sunday, condemned President Muhammadu Buhari and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami’s violation of Nigeria’s ballot secrecy principle.
Nigerians went to the polls to elect a new president and members of the National Assembly on Saturday.
PREMIUM TIMES reported on Saturday that Messrs Buhari and Malami were seen displaying their thumb-printed ballots in Katsina and Kebbi states, respectively.
Toeing the same path, Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, and Orji Kalu – former Abia State governor and serving APC senator, displayed their thumb-printed ballots in the full glare of voters at their respective polling units.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) prohibits the use of mobile phones and other photographic devices at voting cubicles to prevent vote-buying that characterises Nigeria’s elections.
“We condemn the conduct of those who violated the secrecy of the ballot because it is not exemplary. If those people are charged by INEC, we will prosecute them,” The NBA President, Yakubu Maikyau, said while fielding questions from journalists on Sunday.
Mr Maikyau, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), noted that the NBA stands for rule of law, adding, “nobody is above the law.”
Mr Malami has, however, denied any wrongdoing insisting that he only exercised his right to freedom of expression and violated no law.
NBA assembles 300 lawyers to help INEC prosecute electoral offenders
The NBA says 300 lawyers have been assembled to try persons suspected to have committed electoral offences during the conduct of the general elections.
The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, on Saturday, disclosed poll disruptions occasioned by thugs.
But voting in over 100 polling stations across the country had to be rescheduled for Sunday due to violence.
Mr Maikyau revealed that the 300 lawyers would provide free legal services to INEC in a bid to bring the perpetrators of the violence and other infractions to justice.
Sunday’s event was part of the NBA’s interim report on the 2023 general elections it observed across Nigeria.
He commended the military and civil authorities for providing support to INEC and the electorate during polling.
The INEC chairman had lauded the military for reinforcing the police when thugs disrupted polling at some voting stations across Nigeria.
Mr Maikyau urged Nigerians to remain calm and await results from the polls as declared by the electoral umpire.
He said: “INEC is the statutory body saddled with the responsibility of announcing election results.”
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