The Nigeria Police Force today displayed a cash haul of N111 million it said was recovered from officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), who were arrested for allegedly receiving bribes to rig the December 10, 2016 Rivers State re-run election in the legislature.
The Police Investigative Panel led by a Commissioner of Police detailed how Governor Nyesom Wike gave a sum of N360 million as bribes to about 23 of the electoral officials, three of whom collected their share from the governor personally at the State Government House.
Last December, SaharaReporters revealed an audio tape in which Governor Wike was overheard in negotiations to bribe some INEC officials. In the audio tape, which he denied, the governor can be heard arranging with some INEC staff to rig the election for some key local government areas in the state in favor of the Peoples Democratic Party.
In another audio recording made public by SaharaReporters, Wike and the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, were also heard making fun of the Nigerian Army while Wike boasted about how he wreaked havoc during the election.
In the leaked telephone conversations, the two governors conversed about how Mr. Wike stormed a collation center during the election. The audio recording revealed that Mr. Wike’s aim was to manipulate the results of the elections in favor of his candidates and outmaneuver security agencies involved in ensuring free and fair elections in the state.
Shortly after the tapes were released, a panel was set up by the police high command to conduct a forensic analysis of the audio tapes.
A statement released by Don Awunah, a Deputy Commissioner of Police and Public Relations Officer at the police headquarters in Abuja, said that Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, had set up the panel and that forensic experts would be flown in to analyze the leaked audio tapes.
It has been reported that the police wrote to telecommunication firms for Governor Wike's call data.
Also in relation to the electoral malpractice, six policemen were paraded by the police authorities for their involvement in the scandal. The affected officers were in the convoy of the Rivers State governor on election day. The officers were said to have misused the firearms in their possession, contrary to the provisions of Force Order 237.
Meanwhile, no report has been released by the Investigative Panel set up by the police, but the governor has been throwing tantrums. He recently sued the Nigeria Police Force hoping to stop the inquiry, but the legal team of the police, represented by Femi Falana, has resisted the attempt.