Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday said that it had commenced the prosecution of electoral offenders, including electoral officers, in the 2015 general elections.
Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, disclosed this at a dialogue with Civil Society Organizations, CSOs, a coalition of over 60 CSOs, in Abuja.
Jega said at the first meeting with the group after the elections, that those being prosecuted included a former Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, as well as youth corps members.
He called on the public to furnish the commission with evidence of electoral breaches.
“Prior to the conduct of the elections, the Inspector-General of Police was very proactive and established a committee.
“The committee is headed by a Deputy Inspector-General of Police to work with INEC for speedy prosecution of electoral offenders,’’ he said.
“We believe that this will help us have more prosecution of electoral offenders than in previous elections.
“Similarly, the Nigerian Bar Association has requested INEC for a meeting, to further explore the possibility of working together for them to provide some services to hasten the process of prosecuting electoral offenders.
“Altogether, we should be able to prosecute as many electoral offenders as we have evidence to prosecute.
“There are already clear cut cases where the police have apprehended people red-handed.
“This is one area where we didn’t do much in 2011. Not that we didn’t try but we were overwhelmed by the number of offenders and we couldn’t handle it.
“Now with partnership with other organisations, we should be able to do so.”
Jega admitted that do-or-die politics was evident in some states and report of under-aged voting, adding, however, that there was no substantial evidence to prove the allegations.
He said that the commission would correct the anomalies by stopping the production of Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs of under-aged.
The INEC chairman also said that besides prosecution, electoral officers who were not staff of the commission that ran away with result sheets would be reported to their parent institutions.
Jega cited an example of an individual in Adamawa who had bagged six months jail term for possessing multiple PVCs.
He reaffirmed his decision not to seek second tenure as the INEC boss, in spite of calls by some Nigerians that he should stay on.
“Man proposes and God disposes, as I speak with you, I will rather do something else with my life,” he said.
Earlier, the Executive Director, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, PLAC, Clement Nwankwo, commended INEC for conducting free, fair and credible general elections.
Nwankwo called for improvement on some of the lapses recorded during the polls. NAN