The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has announced plans to partner with relevant stakeholders to curb vote buying during elections in the country.
Mr Femi Gold, the commission’s Chief Superintendent, Public Enlightenment, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday.
He said beyond the arrest and prosecution of vote buyers, the ICPC was intensifying sensitisation campaign in collaboration with stakeholders against the menace.
Gold spoke against the backdrop of a recent study on why people buy and sell votes in Nigeria, conducted by an NGO, Good Governance Awareness Initiative.
The official said while the commission would continue to arrest vote traders, sensitisation was key in curbing the illegal act.
“We have been monitoring elections since 2011, and as you are aware ICPC arrested some people during the recent Osun governorship election.
“We are going beyond that to prevention through sensitisation. Currently, we are collaborating with some youth organisations and NGOs to reach the grassroots.
“We have covered a few states and we are planning to reach more so that they know the consequences of buying and selling votes,” he said.
Gold said as part of the efforts, the ICPC had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Independent National Electoral Commission to strengthen the campaign against vote buying.
“Nigerians should know that vote trading is an offence for which anyone caught is liable to prosecution.
“That is why we are going to carry out more sensitisation to let people know that in the eye of the law, ignorance is not an excuse.
“Whether people involved know it or not, when you are caught, you are going to be prosecuted.
“We are going to arrest you, but we are also going to take the sensitisation everywhere first,” he added.
He advised Nigerians not to be influenced by anyone to sell their votes during the 2023 general elections, but rather use their votes according to their conscience.
“If you vote somebody because of N5,000 or N10,000, such a person will soak you and the country in poverty for the period he stays in office.
“What is the essence of the quick N4,000 or N8,000 or N10,000 when you are going to suffer for it in the next four or eight years? “So, our advice for them is to vote based on their conscience”, he added.