The Senate has passed the bill that proposes a 20-year jail term for those culpable of snatching ballot boxes during elections.

The bill called the National Electoral Offences Commission Bill if assented by the president will bring into effect a commission that will be tasked with the investigation of electoral offences and prosecution of electoral offenders according to the Act.

It scaled through the third reading at plenary on Tuesday and was approved following the consideration of a report by the Kabiru Gaya-led Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

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Gaya said the creation of the commission is critical because the Independent National Electoral Commission clearly lacks the needed human capacity to prosecute electoral offences committed across Nigeria’s 119,973 polling units.

“No doubt, electoral offences remain a significant threat to credible, free and fair elections in Nigeria, where elections heighten political tension and trigger violence,” he said.

“It is also a decisive deterrence through efficient criminal prosecutions in the strategy for defecting electoral offenders,” the Committee Chairman had told the chamber.

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The bill also provides 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.

It also approved ten years imprisonment for voter card fraud while it will be 10 years upon conviction for any election official who willfully prevents any person from voting at the polling station and other forms of electoral malpractice.

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