INEC advocates three-year jail term for vote buyers, sellers

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has proposed a fine of N500,000 or three years imprisonment, or both, for persons convicted of vote-buying and selling in the country.

INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this in Abuja, yesterday, at the Ninth Forum of the Anti-Corruption Situation Room, organised by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA).

Yakubu, who was represented at the event by the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, said vote-buying and selling during elections in the country have become a huge source of worry to the electoral umpire as well as the international community.

He said it is imperative for the National Assembly to take more legislative actions to tackle the menace.

“The National Assembly should isolate vote-buying and selling and properly define it. It varieties in ingredients and (they should) make it a separate item in the Electoral Act and provide sanction for violation.

“The punishment for vote-buying should be increased and made stiffer to act as deterrent to buyers and sellers. Those who commit the offence of buying and selling should be made to pay a fine of N500,000 or be subjected to three years imprisonment, or both.

“Restriction on the use of smart phones in polling units should be put into the Electoral Act and violators should be liable on conviction to a fine of N500,000 or three years imprisonment or both,” Yakubu said.