Senate advances on electoral offences commission bill

OrderPaperToday – The Senate has read for the second time the bill that seeks to establish National Electoral Offences Commission.

The bill which has 7 parts and 43 clauses was read for the first time 11th April 2017.

While leading debate on the bill, the sponsor, Senator Abubakar Kyari (APC, Borno) on Wednesday, said that it seeks to provide solutions to electoral offences in a way that aligns with global best practices.

According to Kyari, electoral crimes produce election riggers and political apathy, breeding waste of public resources, civil disturbances and violence with adverse effect on election.

He said: “It is not conducive for businesses. It declines gross domestic product. They are self-inflicted injuries to be avoided at all cost.

“According to section 149, INEC does not have the needed capacity to prosecute offenders unless otherwise determined by tribunal.  INEC has also acknowledged its inability.

“It’s open failure has helped to sustain a rain of election rigging and disenfranchisement, declaration of false electoral result, voters impersonation.

“This duty distracts INEC from core responsibility. Experts have said it is unsound for INEC to double as an electoral body and a prosecutor.”

Explaining the importance of the bill, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP, Taraba) said the creation of a commission would be the best cure for electoral offences in Nigeria.

He said: “I have never seen electoral offenders prosecuted properly; this is because the matter has not been taken seriously. Public offices in Nigeria have become a do or die affair and people engage in any means to get there.

“If INEC is decongested, they would be empowered to perform effectively in areas with due diligence. Electoral offences are common offences in this country.”

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