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INEC seeks electoral offences commission, tribunal before 2019 poll

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called on the National Assembly and other stakeholders to expedite action on the bill to establish the National Electoral Offences Commission/Tribunal ahead of the 2019 general elections.

This is just as the Commission said it recorded 1,080 cases of electoral offences arising from the 2015 general elections and subsequent bye-elections.

He  stated that 124 of the cases were filed and 60 convictions secured in various courts across the country.

INEC Chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu broke the news yesterday in a memorandum he submitted to the Senate joint committee on INEC and the Judiciary.


Yakubu expressed dismay that reports of the Electoral Reform Committee (the Uwais Report) 2008, and the Post-election Violence (Lemu Report) 2011 have been left to gather dusts on the shelves.

According to the INEC chair, the two reports had recommended the establishment of the Electoral Offences Commission/Tribunal to address all forms of electoral violence and impunity that have continued to undermine the stability of the nation’s electoral democracy.

Yakubu bemoaned the fact that though it has the powers to prosecute, INEC lacked the powers to effect the arrest of electoral offenders, a situation he said, has continued to hamper effective prosecution of offenders.

He said: “While the Uwais Report was transmitted by the executive to the National Assembly in 2010, the White Paper on recommendations of the Lemu Report directed the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minster of Justice to take steps towards the establishment of the Electoral Offences Tribunal.

“Nearly a decade later, there has been no legislative action on these aspects of the recommendations of the Uwais and Lemu reports, making the present effort by the Senate and the concurrent effort by the House of Representatives a welcome development.

“The failure to systematically and consistently enforce sanctions has encouraged impunity and the violence that often characterised electoral contest in Nigeria, thereby subverting the will of the people and undermining the nation’s electoral democracy.


“At present, INEC is saddled with the responsibility of prosecuting electoral offender. Section 150(1) and (2) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) empowered INEC prosecute electoral offenders through its legal officers or any legal practitioner appointed by it without the powers to arrest and investigate thus depending on the police for this purpose.

“Without the capacity to make arrest and investigate violations, the prosecutorial role is severely hampered. INEC cannot effectively focus on this role given its other variegated responsibilities under the Constitution  and the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended)”.

Chairman of the Senate committee on INEC, Senator Suleiman Nazif noted that over the years, statistics showed that the various electoral offences and crimes orchestrated by politicians have cast shadows over the nation’s electoral process.

“Subsequently, due to human dynamics, crimes and offences of election tend to evolve. Therefore, we must look beyond the usual offences and into new trends of wider social electoral offences and crimes that have evaded justice for too long’’Senator Nazif said.,


The Nation 

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