JEGA INSISTS ON TRIBUNALS FOR ELECTION OFFENDERS
Chairman Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, yesterday reiterated the need for the establishment of Electoral Offences Tribunal (EOT), saying it will help to fast-track prosecution of electoral offenders.
Jega stated this when the German Ambassador to Nigeria, Dorothee Janetzke Wenzel, visited him.
He said INEC would use the window of the expected amendment to the constitution and the Electoral Act next year to canvass the establishment of the special tribunal in line with the determination of the electoral organ to sanitize the entire electoral space of the country.
Jega explained that INEC was eager to prosecute electoral offenders to check electoral malpractice, which he regretted had become a clog in the wheel of the country's electoral progress.
He declared that INEC had the power to prosecute electoral offenders, but regretted that due to the large number of electoral offenders and other administrative bottlenecks, the commission lacked the capacity for successful prosecution.
He said: 'Because of all these avoidable hiccups, we at INEC would explore the possibility of the setting up of Electoral Offences Tribunal which will speedily deal with electoral offences. I want to assure everybody that INEC will always insist that the right things are done both before, during and even after elections.'
Meanwhile, INEC had warned all the political parties to desist from going against the rules and regulations governing the electoral process, stating that very soon it would descend hard on such offenders.
In a statement issued by the Director of Public Affairs of the commission, Emmanuel Umenger, INEC said leadership of all the political parties should learn how to comply strictly with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 as well as the guidelines governing the entire electoral process.
The statement further reiterated that political parties must comply strictly with the provisions of the laws particularly with respect to the 21-day notice on the conduct of primaries and conventions.
'In addition, the commission requested each political party to forward to it the list of its agents (with photographs) who would be at polling units and collation centres seven days to any election. INEC insisted that any political party which failed to comply with this directive will automatically deny its agents the right to be present at the polling units and collation centres during elections,' the statement concluded.