By Christian Njoku
The Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) in Cross River on Friday threatened to punish collation and returning officers who engaged in sharp practices in the governorship and state house of assembly elections.
Prof. Gabriel Yomere, INEC’S Resident Electoral Commissioner for Cross River, made the threats during a training in Calabar, for the commission’s adhoc personnel engaged for the March 18 elections in Cross River.
Yomere charged the officers to be non partisan in the discharge of their duties and avoid all forms of criminality.
The REC advised the personnel to take the retraining seriously and avoid all forms of alterations of result sheets.
He informed all adhoc staff and stakeholders that none of them had the powers to influence election adding that the commission would prosecute any personnel who deliberately sought to undermine the credibility of the election.
“For the avoidance of doubt, section 120 of the 2022 Electoral Act states that officers on election duty who without lawful excuse commit or omit to act in breach of official duty for which they have sworn an oath of neutrality will be prosecuted and if convicted shall be imprisoned.
“The term of imprisonment ranges from three years for collation officers and 12 months for presiding officers and other polling level staff, including fine where applicable.
“That section also applies to any person, political parties or their party agents who conspire to make false declaration of results or publish any results other than the one announced by the commission,” he said.
Also the REC appealed to eligible voters to come out en-mass in orderly manner and cast their votes on the Saturday elections.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the retraining of the personnel focused on basic mathematics, tabulation of results received from polling units to state collation centre and the declaration of winners. (NAN)