The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will collaborate with the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to prosecute candidates of political parties that submit forged academic credentials.
“We are already collaborating with the ICPC, which is prosecuting candidates who submitted fake or forged academic credentials to INEC, as a result of which elections were nullified by the Election Petition Tribunals.
“Beyond the nullification of elections, such persons should be prosecuted. And I am happy that the ICPC is handling that responsibility,” INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, said.
Mr Yakubu spoke at a meeting on the collaboration for effective tax compliance of political office holders convened at the Joint Tax Board (JTB).
“Let me assure you that INEC is in collaboration with ICPC, Code of Conduct Bureau in our efforts to make Nigeria a better place and to ensure that persons who are elected comply with the laws of the land and are suitably qualified to hold public trust.
“Nigeria must be a democratic nation for all and not just a plutocracy for a few people who end up evading taxes,” Mr Yakubu said.
The INEC chairman said no specific law made it mandatory for candidates to present evidence of tax payment before they could contest an election.
He, however, pledged INEC’s commitment to relevant agencies to ensure that public office holders complied with the country’s constitution and applicable laws, including tax.
“All candidates for elected offices are required to complete the INEC nomination forms and to swear to an affidavit that they have fully and faithfully provided the requisite information to the commission.
“We will collaborate with sister agencies to provide whatever information you require to facilitate your constitutional roles,” Mr Yakubu said.
Other agencies were represented at the meeting, including the Chief Executive Officers of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Code of Conduct Bureau.