Kogi/Bayelsa: Cleen Foundation wants electoral offenders prosecuted

Cleen Foundation, a Non Governmental Organisation(NGOs), has advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to prosecute individuals arrested for electoral violence during the Nov. 16 Kogi and Bayelsa governorship election.

Dr Benson Olugbuo, Executive Director of the foundation gave the advice on Wednesday in a statement issued on the conduct of the election.

Olugbuo said that there was need for INEC to prioritise the prosecution of electoral offenders in line with section 150 of the Electoral Act to serve as deterrent to others.

He also advised the Federal Government to commence the process of amending the Electoral Act in preparation for future elections.

“This should be done ahead of 2023 general elections and an establishment of Electoral Offences Commission should be considered and vote trading should be criminalised.

“INEC should also consider and implement electronic voting to reduce physical contact with election materials in order to reduce electoral violence,” he said.

He also advised INEC and other stakeholders to harmonise and standardise Election Security Management training modules for use by security personnel ahead of 2023 election.

He said that the outcome of the election needed to be properly looked into to prevent costly implication for both election security management and sustenance of democracy in Nigeria.

The director said that the foundation was concerned that key stakeholders like politicians, INEC and security agencies did not take lessons from previous elections while preparing for the just concluded election.

“This explains the re-occurrence of past issues, lapses and problems associated with management of elections in Nigeria on the part of INEC and security agencies.

“It appeared that electoral processes are retrogressing rather than advancing and progressing based on the electoral gains made in the past,’’ he said.

He, however, commended the general conduct and process of the election, saying that there were reported adequacy in the deployment of security to the states.

“At the various observers briefings held in Kogi and Bayelsa ahead of the election, the Nigeria Police Force confirmed its readiness to secure lives and provide conducive environment for voters.

“These promises were made evident as we observed 92 per cent presence of security personnel at the various Polling Units (PUs) in the state.

“Majority of the personnel at the PUs were unarmed while some of the armed personnel were seen on the road sides and meters away from the Pus,” he said.(NAN)

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