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    Vote buying during election is a criminal offence”

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    By Hosea parah, Abuja.

    A Nigerian civil society organisation, Connected Development, on Monday commenced sensitization of students on accountability, elections, voting process, and public policy through its Follow the Money Initiatives, a move targeted at fighting and eradicating the menace of corruption in Kaduna

    The program, which the country’s anti-graft agencies, both the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), edify students at a public dialogue organised by “Follow the Money” in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation for students of the prestigious Kaduna polytechnic recently.

    However, Mr Harry Erin, the kaduna zonal commander of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, while answering questions from students during the panel session, noted that the commission’s readiness to address money laundering and other financial crimes in the country remains paramount.

    According to him, vote buying during an election is a criminal offence that the commissions prioritise in arresting and prosecuting citizens guilty of such crimes.

    The commissions have recently arrested and prosecuted many citizens engaged in the act, especially during the recent elections in Ekiti and Osun states, with a significant number of people in the just concluded primary elections ahead of the 2023 general elections. He continued .

    The EFCC will ensure that no money is induced to voters, promoting violence, or creating a hostile environment during elections.

    As a result, I urge you students and Nigerian youth to distance yourselves from such crimes and their perpetrators and to vote for leaders who are accountable and transparent. He added

    However, the panel head during the interaction session, Zaliha Lawal, Programs Manager and SDGs coordinator for connected development, maintained that Nigerian youth, students, women, and the elderly need active involvement in keeping leaders accountable for their office, as such can only be achieved by sensitising them on accountability and the voting process.

    Our work at “follow the money” ensures accountability, which is why we chose to engage the grassroots to educate them on public policy, corruption, and accountability. The public, therefore, must be held accountable and managed transparently by any party involved in Nigeria, whether it is an individual, corporate body, civil servant, or public office holder. She added

    Many people mistake accountability and corruption for only financial crimes, but morals and attitudes are greater forms of corruption, affecting the country’s productivity, sustainability, and every development component, according to ACP Buhari Bello of the ICPC.

    That’s why we look into corruption in the public sector. Abuse of office, mismanagement, contract diversion and contract splitting are among the crimes that are mandated to be eradicated by the ICPC

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