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Senate passes bill to establish Electoral Offences Commission 

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SENATE-PRESIDENT
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan
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…Okays 20yrs jail term for candidates caught snatching ballot materials 

 

The Senate on Tuesday passed a bill seeking to establish the Electoral Offences Commission.
The passage of the bill followed the consideration of a report by the Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano South), in his presentation, said the bill became imperative in view of INEC’s inability to prosecute electoral offenders in accordance with the provisions of a section 149 and 150(2) of the Electoral Act (as Amended).
“By the foregoing statistics, it is unrealistic to expect INEC to conduct free, fair and credible election and simultaneously prosecute Offences arising from the same elections.
“Indeed, INEC has at several occasions admitted that it lacks the wherewithal to cleanse the system.
“Its failure to prosecute even one percent 870,000 and over 900,000 alleged electoral Offences in 2011 and 2015 general elections respectively is an affirmation of the necessity for a paradigm shift on how we deal with electoral offences”, the lawmaker said.
According to him, as a result of electoral flaws in the system, the Justice Uwais Electoral Committee; Sheik Nurudeen Lemu Committee; and Constitution and Electoral Reform Committee were constituted.
He recalled that the Committees in their final reports recommended that for INEC to function efficiently, some of the functions currently performed by it should be assigned to other agencies.
Accordingly, the Senate during consideration of the INEC Committee report, approved the establishment of the National Electoral Offences Commission.
The Commission’s membership consists of the Chairman, Secretary  and representatives from the Justice, Interior, Defence, and Information Ministries.
The function of the Commission includes  investigating electoral Offences created in any laws relating to elections in Nigeria; prosecution of electoral offenders; and maintaining records of all persons investigated and prosecuted.
Others are to liaise with the Attorney-General of the Federation and government security and law enforcement bodies and agencies in the discharge of its duties; liaise with other bodies within and outside Nigeria involved in the investigation or prosecution of electoral Offences; and adopting measures to prevent, minimize and eradicate electoral Offences throughout the federation.
The Senate in Clause 12 of the bill approved at least five years imprisonment or a fine of at least N10 million naira or both, for any officer or executives of any association or political party that engages in electoral fraud that contravenes the provisions of clauses 221, 225(1)(2)(3) and (4) and 227 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
The upper chamber adopted the Committee’s recommendation of fifteen years imprisonment for any person involved ballot box snatching, supplying voter’s card to persons without due authority, unauthorized printing of voters’ register, illegal printing of ballot paper or electoral document, and importation of any device or mechanism by which ballot paper or results of elections may be extracted, affected or manipulated, and voting at an election when he is not entitled to vote.
It also approved ten years imprisonment for any person who sells voter’s card, or in possession of any voter’s card bearing the name of another person, or prepares and prints a document or paper purporting to be a register of voters or a voter’s card.
The Senate also gave its nod to a term of at least ten years upon conviction for any  election official who willfully prevents any person from voting at the polling station, willfully rejects or refuses to count any ballot paper validly cast,  willfully counts any ballot paper not validly cast, gives false evidence or withholds evidence, and announces or declares a false result at an election.
The upper chamber in Clause 20(2) approved at least fifteen years imprisonment for any judicial officer or officer of a court or tribunal who corruptly perverts electoral justice, during or after an election.
It also gave at least fifteen years jail term or N30 million naira fine for any security personnel or election official engaged by the Independent National Electoral Commission or State Electoral Commission who attempts to influence the outcome of an election.
In addition, any person found to disturb the public peace on Election Day by playing musical instruments, singing or holding an assembly where a polling station is located shall be guilty of breaching electoral peace and liable to six months imprisonment or a fine of at least N100,000 or both.
Also, any person acting for himself or on behalf of any organization or political party or candidate or his agent with the intention of prejudicing the result of an election, damage or defame, in any manner, the character of any candidate in an election or his family member by making, saying, printing, airing or publishing  in the print or electronic media false accusation on any matter shall be guilty of serious corrupt practice and liable on conviction to a term of at least ten years or a fine of ten million naira or both.
Any person soliciting or giving votes for or against any political party or candidate at an election, or found to affix campaign materials on any private house, public buildings or structures, or prints posters and banners without the name and address of the political party to which the candidate or person belongs contravenes sub-clause (1) to (5) and guilty of an offence and liable to at least five years or a fine of at least ten million naira, or both.
The National Electoral Offences Commission Bill, 2021, prohibits any campaign against national interest.
It provides a twenty years jail term without option of fine for any person who propagates information that undermines the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, or unity of the federation.
Also, any candidate or agent who damages or snatches ballot boxes, ballot papers or election materials before, during and after an election without the permission of election official in charge of the polling station attracts at least twenty years imprisonment or a fine of at least forty million naira.
The Senate approved at least fifteen years imprisonment for any person who conveys voters to and from the poll; and three years imprisonment for any employee who directly or indirectly exerts undue influence on a voter in his employ.
The upper chamber approved three years and not more than five years imprisonment for any person who provide false information in any material particular to a public officer.
It also gave the nod for at least ten years imprisonment or at least twenty million naira fine or both for any person who uses hate speech to stir up ethnic, religious or racial hatred, social or political insecurity or violence against anyone or group of persons.

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APC primary: No cause for alarm – Oyetola’s aide

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Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola
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Expresses confidence that Appeal court will set it aside

The Chief Press Secretary to Osun Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, Ismail Omipidan, has appealed to supporters of the governor to remain calm in the face of the decision of a Federal High Court to nullify his candidature in the July 16 Governorship poll.

He noted that their team of lawyers would be challenging the decision at the Appeal Court, just as he expressed confidence that the decision would be set aside.

Omipidan further noted that the case was instituted by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in spite of the fact there is a plethora of decisions flowing from the apex court that frowns upon such a decision.

He said that, for the records, the position of the law is that only members of the APC who participated in the primary election can approach the court to challenge the nomination of Oyetola as the candidate of the party.

“All these are part of the antics of the opposition PDP and some of their collaborators from within to distract us. But like every of their plans, this too has fallen flat on their faces.

“They want to distract us from the Tribunal case. But we shall remain focused until we take back our mandate. We have confidence in the Tribunal to do justice in the case before it, just as we have implicit confidence in the Appeal Court to set aside this latest decision of the Federal High Court,” Omipidan said.

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Nigeria @ 62: Southern Senators To Houses of Assembly, Speed up Review of Constitution Amendment

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Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele
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The Southern Senators’ Forum has asked the State Houses of Assembly across the nation to expedite action on the Review of the 1999 Constitution as transmitted to them by the National Assembly, adding that this would be an Independence anniversary gift to Nigerians if done as such.

The Chairman of the Forum , Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, made this known in a statement issued on the occasion of the commemoration of the 62nd Independence anniversary. Bamidele said he is optimistic that most of the challenges facing the nation will be a thing of the past if the salient report becomes law.

Bamidele also urged Nigerians to be optimistic about the future of the nation, notwithstanding the enormity of our current challenges, adding that there is yet light at the end of the tunnel if we have faith in God and take the much needed steps.

He pointed out that just like the political office holders and public servants in general, every citizen has a role to play in the nation building process and with determination, faith and persistence, Nigerians will surely witness a new Nigeria which is headed for growth and development and that is devoid of violence, hostilities, and acrimony.

The statement reads, ” As we celebrate 62nd Independence anniversary of our great nation, I will like to implore the State Houses of Assembly across the Federation to expedite action on the passage of the Review of the 1999 Constitution as transmitted to them by the National Assembly, because some of the problems facing the people of Nigeria are already being addressed in the amendment draft transmitted to the State Houses Assembly.

” The speedy passage of the amendment will serve as the most cherished and memorable anniversary gift you can give to the electorates who reposed confidence in you by voting you as their representatives in the Houses Assembly.

” We must also know that the process of nation building is a collective responsibility of both the leaders and followers in order for us to have the nation of our desire and Nigerians should continue to hope for greater future and with determination, faith and persistence, Nigerians will surely see a nation devoid of banditry, terrorism, kidnapping, ethnic hostilities and acrimony.

” Nigerians should not succumb their future in the hands of the pessimists who are always craving for negative news in the country, but put their trust in God, for He will surely see us through our challenges as a nation”.

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Senator Opeyemi Bamidele Bags National Honour

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Senator Micheal Opeyemi Bamidele
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President Muhammadu Buhari has approved conferment of national honour on the Senator representing Ekiti Central, in the the current Ninth National Assembly, Senator Micheal Opeyemi Bamidele.

The National Honours ceremony is billed for October 11, 2022 in Abuja

This was disclosed in a statement released by Senator Bamidele’s media office , stating that the Chairman Senate Committee on Judiciary is listed among the recipients of the 2022 National Honour Award of the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON).

The letter conveyed the award was signed by the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-government Affairs, Senator George Akume signed on September 16, 2022.

The letter from the Minister reads, ““I have the honour to formally inform you that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has approved the conferment of the National Honours on you, in the rank of CON, Commander of the Order of the Niger.

“The ceremony is scheduled to take place at the International Conference Centre, Abuja on Tuesday, October 11, 2022 at 9am.”

Bamidele is the Chairman of Southern , Senator Forum, and was in House of Representatives between June 2011 to June 2015). He served as Honorable Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lagos State (July 2007 to February 2011), Honourable Commissioner for Youths, Sports and Social Development, Lagos State (July 2003 to May 2007, Special Adviser to the Governor on Political and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Lagos State (July 2000 to May 2003).

Bamidele obtained law degree in the University of Benun and graduated from the Nigerian Law School, he was called to the bar in 1992. He then proceeded to Franklin Pierce University where he received a master’s degree in law and was called to the New York Bar in January 1999.

Among the bills sponsored by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele is a bill for the Establishment of the Federal University of Medical and Environmental sciences in Ekiti. Also, his Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) Establishment Act Amendment Bill of 2021, seeking to strengthen and extend the life of AMCON, has already been assented to by President Buhari.

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