The long awaited bill, titled, “Electoral Offences Commission (Establishment) Bill”, 2019 passed second reading at Wednesday’s plenary session. Abubakar Kyari, senator representing Borno north, sponsored the bill. It was introduced a day after the senators lamented the violence and irregularities that have continued to mar Nigeria’s elections.
For instance, the just concluded elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states witnessed widespread violence and intimidation of voters and electoral officials. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as is currently constituted is not empowered to prosecute electoral offenders.
Even the electoral commission has at various times expressed frustration at its inability to handle such cases. If passed into law, the legislation will help unbundle the commission as well as help in speedy prosecution of electoral offences.