As Nigerians troop out today, Saturday, February 23 to vote for their preferred candidates in the 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections, Legit.ng highlights five important illegal acts anyone should not be caught doing.
The listed illegal acts have attached to them various forms of punishments as they can compromise the credibility of the electoral process and cause violence.
1. Ballot snatching
Ballot snatching is a serious electoral offence because it constitutes a great threat to the credibility of elections.
The electoral act (2010) prohibits anyone from snatching electoral materials. Section 129 subsection (4) of the electoral act prescribes a maximum of two years imprisonment for offenders.
It reads: 129 (1) No person shall on the date on which an election is held do any of the following acts or things in a polling unit or within a distance of 300 metres of a polling unit-
(a) canvass for votes;
(b) solicit for the vote of any voter;
(c) persuade any voter not to vote for any particular candidate;
(d) persuade any voter not to vote at the election;
(e) shout slogans concerning the election;
(f) be in possession of any offensive weapon or wear any dress or have any facial or other decoration which in any event is calculated to intimidate voters;
(g) exhibit, wear or tender any notice, symbol, photograph or party card referring to the election; 59 Disorderly conduct at ejections Offences on election day
(h) use any vehicle bearing the colour or symbol of a political party by any means whatsoever;
(i) loiter without lawful excuse after voting or after being refused to vote;
(j) snatch or destroy any election materials; and
(k) blare siren.
(4) Any person who snatches or destroys any election material commits an offence and is liable on conviction to 24 months imprisonment.
Section 128 of the act adds that “any person who at an election acts or incites others to act in a disorderly manner commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine ofN500,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both.”
Section 131 of the same act further states that anyone who uses force, threats, violence or restraint is liable on conviction to a fine of N1 million or imprisonment for a term of 3 years.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has also warned that he has given the security agencies the directive to be ruthless with electoral offenders, saying: “Anybody who decides to snatch ballot boxes or lead thugs to disturb, it may be the last unlawful action you will take.”
2. Fake news peddling
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has also warned fake news peddlers to desist from spreading fake reports about the electoral activities, especially announcing unverified poll results before the electoral body does.
The electoral act (2010), Section 123 prescribes 36 months imprisonment for persons found guilty of announcing or publishing a false election result.
3. Vote buying and selling
Vote buying is illegal inducement of electorates to get their votes. Both vote buying and selling is illegal and attract, on conviction, a maximum fine of N500,000 or 12 months imprisonment or both. (Section 124 E.A 2010)
4. Illegal movement during the restriction period
Apart from security operatives and journalists on election duties, others are not expected to be moving around in vehicles on the election day between the hours of 6am and 6pm.
Improper use of vehicles during the restriction period attracts a maximum fine of N 500,000.00 or imprisonment for six months or both. (Section 121 E.A 2010)
5. Bribing INEC officials
Accepting money or any other inducement during an election attracts a fine of N 100,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both. (Section 130 E.A 2010)
NAIJ.com (naija.ng) -> Legit.ng. We have upgraded to serve you better.
#Election2019: International, local observers comment on poll's shift | Legit TV