The Senate on Tuesday, July 13, passed a bill seeking to establish the Electoral Offences Commission and okayed a 20-year jail term for candidates caught snatching ballot materials.
The function of the Commission includes investigating electoral Offences created in any laws relating to elections in Nigeria; prosecution of electoral offenders; and maintaining records of all persons investigated and prosecuted, among others.
The Senate in Clause 12 of the bill approved at least five years imprisonment or a fine of at least N10 million naira or both, for any officer or executives of any association or political party that engages in electoral fraud that contravenes the provisions of clauses 221, 225(1)(2)(3) and (4) and 227 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
It also approved ten years imprisonment for any person who sells a voter’s card, or in possession of any voter’s card bearing the name of another person, or prepares and prints a document or paper purporting to be a register of voters or a voter’s card.
It provides a 20-year jail term without the option of a fine for any person who propagates information that undermines the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, or unity of the federation.
Also, 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 attracts at least 20 years imprisonment or a fine of at least N40million.