The Senate on Tuesday passed a bill seeking to establish the Electoral Offences Commission.
The passage of the bill followed the consideration of a report by the Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano South), in his presentation, 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 percent 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”, the lawmaker said.
According to him, as a result of electoral flaws in the system, the Justice Uwais Electoral Committee; Sheik Nurudeen Lemu Committee; and Constitution and Electoral Reform Committee were constituted.
The Senate also gave its nod to a term of at least ten years upon conviction for any election official who willfully prevents any person from voting at the polling station, willfully rejects or refuses to count any ballot paper validly cast, willfully counts any ballot paper not validly cast, gives false evidence or withholds evidence, and announces or declares a false result at an election.