Court convicts Lagos APC chieftain for vote-buying

A 70-year-old chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Wahab Hammed, has been convicted for vote-buying by the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja.

Hammed, an APC Surulere ward leader, was sentenced to one year imprisonment by Ismail Ijelu following review of the fact in the case preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) after he pleaded guilty to the charge on Wednesday.

The anti-graft had alleged the convict of allegation of vote-buying and bribery contrary to the provision of Sections 121 (1) and (5); 121 (1) and (3) of the Electoral Act 2022.

The prosecution counsel, Samuel Daji, told court that suspected vote buyers had on February 25 conspired with one Segun Ijitola who is still at large, to pay voters during the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly Elections.

Daji told the court that Hammed committed the offence at Unit 28, Gbaja Girls Junior High School, Surulere where he bribed voters at the unit.

However, at the resumed proceeding for reviewing of fact and sentence, the court directed the interpreter to interpret for Hammed as the prosecution reviewed the fact of the case as the suspect claimed he does not understand English language or pidgin.

The prosecutor said while the commission officers on election monitoring duties were at Surulere, Lagos during the 2023 presidential and National Assembly elections on February 25, 2023, they received intelligence about the activities of individuals engaging in vote-buying and bribery at polling unit 28, located at Gbaja Girls High School Surulere area of Lagos State.

“After the receipt of the intelligence, a team of operatives were dispatched to the polling unit and the defendant was seen sharing money to bribe voters of his party. On citing the operatives of the commission, the voters ran away, while the defendant was arrested with N121,000

“The defendant was brought to the commission’s office, located at 15A Awolowo Road, Ikoyi Lagos with the exhibit. He was interviewed and he made voluntary statements where he stated he is a ward leader of APC in Unit F3 Surulere, Lagos.

“He confessed the money found with him was giving to him by one Seun Ijtola who is a senior special assistant to chairman, Surulere Local Government Area, to bribe voters to vote for APC. He confessed he had bribed a few voters before he was arrested, and the money was in N500 denomination.”

Ijelu, however, asked the defendant if he actually understood the facts reviewed against him by the prosecutor counsel, the defendant answered in affirmative.

The judge, therefore, found him guilty and convicted him.

Before the sentence, the defendant had pleaded for mercy in tears.

“Milord, I am an old man above 70, I have never been arrested and I have no criminal case or record. I am also set for surgery slated for Saturday. Since I was arrested and detained, I have not been feeding fine. I battle with high blood pressure and ulcer.”

He further pleaded that at his age, he would not have involved in such an act if his children were employed.

The defendant counsel, Olabiyi Ademola, also pleaded that he has been remorseful and regret his action. Pleaded not to involve in any of such act again or any criminal act.

The judge, therefore, sentenced him to one year imprisonment. He, however, gave him an option of N500,000 for each of the two counts charge against him.


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