The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), have dragged two lawyers-Sarah Ajibola, and John Demide, before the Federal High Court in Lagos State, for charges of cyber fraud and for allegedly rigging the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) 2018 National Elections.
The defendants were also accused of manipulating the election in favour of incumbent NBA President, Paul Usoro.
Mr. Usoro, a senior advocate of Nigeria, had emerged the president of the NBA after he polled 4,509 votes to defeat his other contenders, Okafor Obi, and Ernest Ojukwu, who got 4, 423 and 3, 313 votes respectively, in the said election.
On his part, one of the candidates that contested in the elections, Mr Ojukwu, a law professor, had condemned the election saying it was characterised by fraud.
The lawyer said he “contested against corruption, massive vote buying, vote capture, rigging, and a skewed process.”
Consequently, the EFCC, in the suit titled FHC/L/118c/2020, which was signed by EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, said the accused allegedly altered 1004 eligible voters’ personal details and cast votes for Mr Usoro by impersonating voters.
The anti-graft agency also accused the duo of fraudulently using the Supreme Court Enrolment Numbers of some lawyers to vote “with the intent of gaining an electoral advantage in favour of Mr Usoro.”
The EFCC said their offence is contrary to and punishable under Section 22(2) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2015 under the same section.”
Part of the Charges reads: “That you, Sarah Omeigha Ajibola and John Ozovehe Demide sometime in August 2018, knowingly altered the email addresses and phone numbers of about 1004 eligible voters of the NBA 2018 National elections and… thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 13 of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2015.”
“Count 4: “That you, John Ozovehe Demide sometime on the 19th of August 2018, within the Jurisdiction of this court fraudulently used the unique identification features such as Name and Supreme Court Enrolment Number SCN043280 of one Gabriel Abijo Oladipo to vote as the same Gabriel Abijo Oladipo through your Smile modem on IP address 184.108.40.206, to vote with the intent of gaining an electoral advantage in favour of Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN) who was one of the Presidential Aspirants during the 2018 Nigerian Bar Association elections and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 22(2) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act, 2015 under the same section.”