2019: INEC vows to impose stiffer penalties on vote buyers, sellers

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Yobe state
office, has strongly warned politicians as well as prospective voters
against vote buying and selling in the upcoming general elections.

Ahmad Makama, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) gave the warning
today at a one day voter education and sensitization campaign towards
February/March elections organized by National Orientation Agency in
Damaturu.

He said the commission will not hesitate in applying the application
of Sections 139(a) and 124 of the Electoral Act 2010 ( as amended)
which clearly spelt out punishments to offenders.

"Another important issue which the commission would like to draw the
attention of the public is the buying and selling of votes.

"Section 139(a) of the Electoral Act 2010 ( as amended) states that
any person paying money to another person as bribe at an election or
buys his/her votes, shall on conviction be liable to a fine of
N500,000 or twelve (12) months imprisonment or both," Makama stated.

Similarly, according to the REC Section 124 of the Electoral Act 2010
(as amended) states that person receiving any money or gift for voting
or to refrain from voting at any election, shall on conviction be
liable to a fine of N500,000 or twelve (12) months imprisonment or
both.

The commissioner of the electoral umpire in the state also urged
stakeholders to assist by engaging in publicity to call upon voters to
come and collect their permanent voters' cards (PVCs) at the location
they registered initially.

"INEC in Yobe state has received a total of 338,933 permanent voters'
cards from the National Headquarters, out of this figure 199,551 PVCs
were collected by their owners and have a balance of 139,377 PVCs and
when added to the balance of 2015 PVCs (33,010) we now have a total of
172,387 PVCs uncollected still with the commission", he noted.

Earlier, Dr. Garba Abari, Director General National Orientation Ageny
(NOA) represented by Mr. Nom Simeon told the gathering that the
sensitization was inline with agency's mandate to awaken the
consciousness of Nigerians to their civic responsibilities, hence it
has become necessary to embark on a nationwide political education in
order to achieve successful elections.

"We in the National Orientation Agency are delighted to observed that
so far so good, the electioneering campaigns have been largely issue
based. We implore that this attitude be sustained.

"We are however, concerned by some prevailing negative attitudes being
exhibited by the electorates – fake news particularly in the social
media designed to achieve undue political advantages, hate speeches,
vote selling and buying, some spate of violence and ballot snatching
as well as other electoral vices", he said.

The campaign brought together heads of security agencies, civil
society organisations (CSOs), youths associations, religious leaders
and media executives operating in the state, and was aimed at
achieving violent free elections that would be free, fair, credible
and acceptable.

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