Senate passes Electoral Offences Commission bill
Post created on 11:38 am
The Senate has passed a bill that seeks to establish an Electoral Offences Commission bill.
The bill, if signed into law, will empower the commission to investigate electoral offences, prosecute electoral offenders and maintain records of all persons investigated and prosecuted.
The legislation also prescribes a 20-year jail term for offenders found guilty of snatching ballot boxes during elections.
It also proposes that any candidate or agent who damages or snatches ballot boxes, ballot papers or election materials before, during and after an election without the permission of the election official in charge of the polling station, shall be jailed for 20 years or fined N40 million.
The passage of the bill on Tuesday was sequel to the presentation and consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on INEC.
The chairman of the committee, Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano South), who presented the report, said the bill became imperative in view of INEC’s inability to prosecute electoral offenders in accordance with the provisions of a section 149 and 150(2) of the Electoral Act (as Amended).
“By the foregoing statistics, it is unrealistic to expect INEC to conduct free, fair and credible election and simultaneously prosecute offences arising from the same elections.
“Indeed, INEC has at several occasions admitted that it lacks the wherewithal to cleanse the system. Its failure to prosecute even one per cent 870,000 and over 900,000 alleged electoral Offences in 2011 and 2015 general elections respectively is an affirmation of the necessity for a paradigm shift on how we deal with electoral offences,” he said.