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OUR LIMITS ON ELECTORAL OFFENDERS -PROF JEGA

By NBF News
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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has admitted its failure to ensure electoral offenders are punished in line with the electoral laws.

The Chairman of INEC, Prof Attahiru Jega, who disclosed this in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, during the electoral commission stakeholders meeting, explained that the inability to check electoral malpractices was due to lack of evidences against offenders.

According to him, attempts by the commission to secure justice had been defeated with the constraints inherent in the constitutional provisions.

While stating that the electoral commission has been able to prosecute 200 offenders, he added that the failure of the law court to accelerate the trial of indicted offenders had been aided by many factors including lack of an Election Offenders Tribunal, the non-availability of legal teams and the lacklustre attitude of the Police to investigation of allegations against offenders.

Jega said the commission was determined to correct the trend with its two correspondents to the leadership of the National Assembly to revisit the Justice Mohammed Uwais Electoral Reform Committee report on the setting up of a Special Election Prosecution Tribunal to ensure quick prosecution of indicted offenders including a Senator in Bayelsa State, who was indicted in the 2011 National Assembly election in the Bayelsa West Senatorial District of the state.

He said: 'It is true that on the issue of the prosecution of electoral offenders, INEC has disappointed lots of Nigerians. I had promised that we will prosecute electoral offenders. I meant it and the commission meant it. We have done our best and as I speak with you now, we have prosecuted over 200 electoral offenders since the April 2011 elections. However, on voters registration offenders alone, we have over 870,000 multiple registration offenders. We have no capacity in INEC to prosecute such number. We cannot do it with the legal department.