The Senate has passed the National Electoral Offences Commission Bill which if assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, will be charged with investigating electoral offences and prosecuting electoral offenders.
The bill which came up for the third reading during Tuesday’s plenary session will ensure that when established, the National Electoral Offences Commission, shall have the power to appoint and maintain investigators, prosecutors and experts to prosecute electoral offenders.
The Chairman of the Committee on INEC, Senator Kabiru Gaya said the creation of the commission is critical because the Independent National Electoral Commission clearly lacks the needed human capacity to prosecute electoral offences committed across Nigeria’s 119,973 polling units.
“No doubt, electoral offences remain a significant threat to credible, free and fair elections in Nigeria, where elections heighten political tension and trigger violence,” he said.
“It is also a decisive deterrence through efficient criminal prosecutions in the strategy for defecting electoral offenders.
“The above underscores the necessity of an active justice system for the prosecution of electoral offenders, which remains critical in ensuring a decrease in the level of electoral impunity and a reversal in the persistent trend of electoral offences.”