EU decries rising level of electoral offences in Nigeria as ex INEC boss

…as Jega proffers solution to vote buying

The European Union, EU has decried the rising level of electoral offences in Nigeria saying a democratic government built on a shaky foundation due to the incredibility of the electoral process will make the people lack confidence in the government

The team leader of the EU Support for Democratic Governance in Nigeria, SDGN Rudolf Elbling said the competitive and politically divisive nature of elections in the country makes them vulnerable to abuse, fraud and violence

According to Elbling, elections can only be credible if they are contested on a level playing field in which the breach of laws and regulations is detected, reported and prosecuted by relevant authorities

He spoke yesterday in Abuja at a seminar, “Electoral Offences in Nigeria: legal provisions, awareness and prosecution” organised by his office to create awareness on the consequences of such offences especially as contained in the electoral act 2022

He urged the electorates and relevant stakeholders in the electoral process to brace up with the challenges of tackling acts and practices capable of undermining the conduct of credible polls as the nation prepares for another round of elections in early 2023

A former chairman of the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof Atahiru Jega who spoke at the event regretted those electoral offences are committed with impunity because of want of prosecution by the relevant bodies

He welcomed the proposed establishment of the Electoral Offences Commission, EOC which is before the National Assembly emphasizing that the essence of advocacy for electoral offences cannot be overemphasized

Besides, the former INEC boss accused politicians of planning to use traditional means to have their way through vote buying since technology has limited rigging and other forms of irregularities

Jega emphasized that special attention should be given to specific electoral malpractices like vote buying, underage voters charging the police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and other security agencies to live up to their task by arresting and prosecuting electoral offenders.


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