Members of civil society organizations have called for the establishment of an electoral offences tribunal to deal with electoral offenders.
The call was made during the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) consultative meeting with CSOs and the media in Abuja.
The meeting, the last in a series of consultative meetings convened by the Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, sought effective ways of dealing with electoral malpractices, improving communication and technologies for elections as well as reviewing constitutional and legal framework for the management of elections.
Describing CSOs as critical stakeholders in Nigeria’s electoral process, human rights lawyer, Festus Okoye said electoral violence and malpractices won’t end in Nigeria until perpetrators are punished.
According to Okoye, “critical stakeholders outside the political foray must push for the establishment of the electoral offences commission and electoral offences tribunal to deal with electoral offenders”.
Clement Nwankwo of the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) tasked the election management body to “engage legal frameworks to entrench electoral offences in Nigeria’s constitution”.
On his part, the National Coordinator of Election Monitor, Abiodun Ajijola blamed poverty for the high level of electoral violence in Nigeria.
“Electoral violence always takes place in highly impoverished areas. A hungry person is more susceptible to being used for electoral violence”, Ajijola said.
While commending the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for its willingness to engage stakeholders, Ajijola urged CSOs and members of the public to hold public officers accountable for their actions.