Precious Oham

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said the proposed National Electoral Offences Commission will facilitate the speedy prosecution of electoral offenders.

The Commission’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this at the public hearing on the Bill for an Act to establish the National Electoral Offences Commission and Related Matters, organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Electoral Matters in Abuja on Tuesday.

The INEC chair decried that the Commission found it difficult to prosecute electoral offenders under the Electoral Act due to obvious constraints, insisting that the reform will not be complete it offenders are not sanctioned.

His words: “INEC would also like to see more successful prosecution of offenders, not just ballot box snatchers, falsifiers of election results and vote buyers at polling units. The proposed Commission would facilitate the attainment of such an objective.”

“For instance, since the 2015 General Election, 125 cases of electoral offences were filed in various courts out of which only 60 convictions have been secured so far, including the most recent one in Akwa Ibom State.”

Prof. Yakubu reiterated that the move will also guarantee the independence of the Commission noted that they have been saddled with other responsibilities which necessitated the need to establish the body.

“While there are other security agencies that deal with economic and financial crimes, I am yet to hear anyone who, in good conscience, thinks that it is unnecessary to have established the anti-corruption agencies.”

“INEC should be independent in the discharge of its functions even if doing so requires a consequential amendment to other laws of the Federation to empower the Commission and guarantee its independence.”