- The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) warns media people and observers against announcing unverified results
- INEC says announcing election results found to be fake can lead to jail terms for the affected publishers
- The commission further warns journalists, observers and social media users not to violate the rules of the election
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned journalists, social media users and accredited election observers not to risk going to jail by publishing results of the forthcoming elections not endorsed by the body.
The Nigerian Tribune reports that Festus Okoye, an INEC commissiober, issued the warning in Awka, Anambra state, at an event to sensitise media practitioners ahead of the 2019 general election.
According to Okoye, only returning officers are mandated to announce results of the exercise.
The INEC commissioner quoted section 123 (4) of the electoral act 2010 (as amended) as stipulating that anyone who announces or publishes the result knowing that they are false or at variance with the signed certificate of return has committed an offence and is liable on conviction to 36 months imprisonment.
“The constitution is the fundamental law of the land and all other laws are dependent and flow from its provisions.
The electoral acts set out the procedure and processes for the conduct of elections in Nigeria and the third are the regulations and guidelines as well as the manuals issued by the INEC for the conduct of elections.
“Media managers must have good knowledge of the dynamics and nuances of the electoral processes. Media manager that does not have such knowledge is a danger to the electoral process and a danger to democracy,” Okoye said.
Okoye also warned that media organisations and observers should abstain from violating the secrecy of the vote by attempting to record how the voters carry out their responsibilities during the elections.
Legit.ng earlier reported that INEC reportedly said that the presence of some governors from Niger Republic at President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign rally in Kano state did not violate any Nigerian law.
It was reported that two governors from the Niger Republic, Issa Moussa of Zinder and Zakiri Umar of Maradi, were present at President Buhari’s campaign in Kano.
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The visit had triggered criticisms from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and some other Nigerians who described it as a form of foreign interference in the electoral process.
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