The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has said that its allegation of double registration against Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State still stands.
“The allegation of double registration has not been swept under the carpet; we cannot prosecute Bello now because he enjoys immunity as a sitting governor.
“He has committed an offence and we shall prosecute him when he is out office,” INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Kogi, Prof. James Apam, said in Lokoja on Thursday.
He said that the recent issuance of a temporary voter card to the governor did not mean that the issue of double registration had been swept under the carpet.
The News Agency of Nigeria, reports that INEC had, on February 26, issued a temporary voter card to the governor after applying for the transfer of his permanent card from Abuja to Okene.
INEC last year declared the second registration done by Bello, on May 23 at the Government House, Lokoja as illegal and contrary to the Electoral Act.
The electoral body, through one of its National Electoral Commissioners, Mr. Emmanuel Shoyebi, said that the registration, which was done outside the designated registration centre, also amounted to double registration which is a criminal offence.
Shoyebi said that Bello did his first registration at Wuse Zone 11 in Abuja, on January 30, 2011.
For their involvement in the double registration saga, a senior official of INEC was compulsorily retired from service while two others were summarily dismissed last month.
Apam, however, explained that a temporary voter card was issued to the governor based on legal advice, saying that the governor would surely face the consequences of his crime at the appropriate time.
He said that INEC’s legal advisers had advised the electoral body not to deny Bello his right to vote and be voted for since he could not be tried at the moment.