… 20-year jail term for ballot box snatchers
…Passes Electoral Act amendment bill tomorrow
Henceforth anybody that snatches ballot boxes will spend 20 years behind the bar. This jus as the Senate passed a bill seeking to establish the Electoral Offences Commission.
These followed the consideration of a report by the Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Chaired by Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano).
The committee chairman, Senator Kabiru Gaya, while making his presentation, said establishing the Electoral Offences Commission has become imperative in view of INEC’s inability to prosecute electoral offenders in accordance with the provisions of sections 149 and 150(2) of the Electoral Act (as amended).
The Senate in Clause 12 of the bill approved at least five years jail term or a fine of at least N10 million or both, for any officer or executive of any association or political party that engaged in electoral fraud that contravened the provisions of clauses 221, 225(1)(2)(3) and (4) and 227 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
It also approved a 10 years jail term for any person who sells a voter’s card, or is in possession of any voter’s card bearing the name of another person.
The upper chamber, in Clause 20(2), approved at least 15 years jail term for any judicial officer or a court or tribunal that corruptly perverts electoral justice, during or after an election and at least, 15 years jail term or N30 million fine for any security personnel or election official engaged by INEC who attempts to influence the outcome of an election among others.
It approved that a political party’s candidate or agent who damages or snatches ballot boxes, ballot papers or election materials before, during or after an election without the permission of the election official in charge of the polling station attracts at least 20 years imprisonment or a fine of at least N40 million.
It also adopted the committee’s recommendation of 15 years imprisonment for any person involved in ballot box snatching, supplying voter’s card to persons without due authorisation, unauthorised printing of voters’ register, illegal printing of ballot paper or electoral document among others.
The National Electoral Offences Commission Bill, 2021, prohibits any campaign against national interest.
Senator Kabiru Gaya, also disclosed that the National Assembly is set to pass the much-touted Electoral Act Amendment Bill on Thursday, while briefing newsmen shortly after plenary.
He said, “On the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, we are going to consider the report on Thursday but it will be laid today, Wednesday. The report will be given to senators to read and make input on the floor of the Senate.”
The Speaker House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has also assured that the Electoral Act Amendment Bill would be passed by the House on Thursday.
He disclosed this through a post on his verified Facebook page yesterday.
President Muhammadu Buhari had declined assent to the bill four times. Prior to the 2019 general elections, Buhari declined assent to the bill saying it could “create some uncertainty about the applicable legislation to govern the process.”He also cited “drafting issues.”