The Senate has initiated moves to impose criminal sanctions on any person who threatens or coerces an electoral officer into declaring results of an election.
Under the proposed law, presidents, governors, senators and others seeking political offices would be jailed for three years if found guilty of forcing electoral officers to declare results under duress. The law also proposes a fine of up to N1 million for offenders.
The Bill comes amid allegations by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that its officials are often forced by candidates of political parties to declare them winners.
Senator Uche Ekwunife who represents Anambra Central is the sponsor of the Bill.
The move is part of an Amendment Bill of the 2010 Electoral Act. It is tagged: “A Bill for an Act to amend the provisions of the Electoral Act (2010) to impose criminal sanctions on any person who coerces am electoral officer to declare results under duress, and other matters related thereto.
The Bill which has already passed its first reading states: “Section 131 of the Principal Act is amended in subsection (d) by deleting the phrase “commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N1,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of 3 years.”
“Section 13 of the Principal Act is further amended by introducing a new subsection as follows- assaults, threatens, intimidates or coerces an Electoral Officer into declaring the results of an election under duress, or against his will, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N1,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of three years.
Meanwhile, the Senate has directed its Committees on Special Duties, Ecology and Climate Change and Environment to investigate the effectiveness of the National Emergency Management Agency over disaster response in 2019.
It has also directed NEMA to implement a response programme for flood disaster affecting communities in Demsa, Numa, Guyuk and Lamurde local governments of Adamawa State.
These were resolutions reached on Tuesday sequel to the consideration of a motion sponsored by Senator Binos Yaroe (APC, Adamawa South).
The lawmaker who lamented the flooding which occurred in October 2019 as a result of release of excess water by the authorities of Lagbo dam in Cameroon, accused NEMA of being selective in its disaster response interventions.
“NEMA performed a disaster response action by distributing relief materials to communities in Furore, Yola South, Yola North and Girei local governments of Adamawa affected by the floods.
“This intervention by NEMA was not extended to other local governments along the River Benue valley equally affected by the flood disaster.
“Although the attention of the Director-General of NEMA was drawn to the need to provide relief materials to communities of the four local governments in Adamawa severely affected by the October floods, nothing has been done; NEMA would appear to be selective in its disaster response interventions,” Yaroe said.
The Senate, yesterday, also considered a Bill for an Act to amend the National Council on Public Procurement and Bureau of Public Procurement Act No. 14 of 2007.