The Senate approved a 20-year prison sentence for anyone convicted of stealing a ballot box during an election on Tuesday.
The Upper Chamber also approved a N10 million fine or both for any officer or executive of any association or political party who engages in electoral fraud.
The Senate approved at least 15 years in prison for anyone who transports voters to and from the polls, as well as three years in prison for any employee who directly or indirectly exerts undue influence on a voter in his employ.
It also approved a three-year to five-year prison sentence for anyone who provides false information in any material particular to a public officer.
It also approved a minimum of ten years in prison or a N20 million fine, or both, for anyone who uses hate speech to incite ethnic, religious, or racial hatred, social or political insecurity, or violence against anyone or group of people.
Furthermore, any candidate or agent who damages or steals 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 faces at least 20 years in prison or an N40 million fine.
These Upper Chamber resolutions, among others, were included in a Bill passed by the Upper Chamber at plenary that seeks to establish the “Electoral Offences Commission and for other related matters, 2021.”
Following the consideration of the report of the Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission, the bill was passed (INEC).
The Upper Chamber adopted the Committee’s recommendation of a 15-year prison sentence for anyone involved in ballot box snatching, supplying voter’s cards to persons without due authority, unauthorized printing of voters’ registers, illegal printing of ballot paper or electoral documents, and importation of any device or mechanism by which ballot paper or election results can be extracted.
In Clause 12 of the Bill, the Senate approved at least five years in prison or a fine of at least N10 million, or both, for any officer or executive of any association or political party who engages in electoral fraud in violation of clauses 221, 225(1)(2)(3) and (4), and 227 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
It also authorized a ten-year prison sentence for anyone who sells a voter’s card, is in possession of a voter’s card bearing the name of another person, or prepares and prints a document or paper claiming to be a voter register or a voter’s card.
The Senate also approved a 10-year prison sentence for any election official who “willfully prevents any person from voting at the polling station, willfully rejects or refuses to count any validly cast ballot paper, willfully counts any ballot paper not validly cast, gives false evidence or withholds evidence, and announces or declares a false result at an election.”
In Clause 20(2), the Upper Chamber approved at least 15 years in prison for any judicial officer or officer of a court or tribunal who corruptly perverts electoral justice during or after an election.
It also mandated a minimum of 15 years in prison or a N30 million fine for any security personnel or election official employed by the Independent National Electoral Commission or a State Electoral Commission who attempted to influence the outcome of an election.
Furthermore, anyone found disturbing the public peace on “Election Day” by playing musical instruments, singing, or holding an Assembly in an area where a polling station is located is guilty of breaching electoral peace and faces a six-month prison sentence, a fine of at least N100,000, or both.
Furthermore, any person acting for himself or on behalf of any organization or political party or candidate or his agent with the intent of prejudicing the outcome of an election, damaging or defaming the character of any candidate in an election or his family member in any way by making, saying, printing, airing, or publishing false accusations on any matter shall be liable.
Any person found soliciting or giving votes for or against any political party or candidate at an election, or found affixing campaign materials on any private house, public building or structure, or printing posters and banners without the name and address of the political party to which the candidate or person belongs, is guilty of an offence and liable to at least
The National Electoral Offences Commission Bill, 2021, outlaws any campaign that is detrimental to national interests.