INEC proposes stiff penalties for vote buying, other electoral offenses

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A fine of five hundred thousand naira (N500, 000) or three years imprisonment, or both for persons convicted of vote buying, selling and other electoral offenses has been proposed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The disclosure was made on Wednesday by the Chairman of the electoral body Professor Mahmood Yakubu at the 9th Forum of the Anti-Corruption Situation Room, organised by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) held in Abuja.

While urging the National Assembly to evolve new legislation’s to curb the ugly trend, the INEC Chairman represented at the event by its National Commissioner and chairman, Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, decried the embarrassment the commission has had to face from international community.

He said: “The National Assembly should isolate vote buying and selling and properly define it, it varieties and ingredients and make it a separate item in the Electoral Act and provide sanction for violation.

“The punishment for vote buying should be increased and made stiffer to act ad deterrent to buyers and sellers. Those that commit the offence of buying and selling should be made to pay a fine of N500, 000 or be subjected to three years imprisonment or both.

“Restriction on the use of smart phones in the polling units should be imputed into the Electoral Act and violators should be liable on conviction to find of N500, 000 or three years imprisonment or both”.