A fresh bill for the amendment of the Electoral Act and another bill seeking the establishment of a proposed Electoral Offences Commission was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday, September 12.
The development comes despite an ongoing tussle between the National Assembly and the Presidency, over President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to withhold assent to the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill (2018), which was proposed by the legislature, Punch reports.
While briefing journalists at the end of the meeting, the attorney general of the federation and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami, disclosed that the FEC approved three bills for transmission to and passage by the National Assembly. The AGF said the proposed bills are the Constitution Alteration Bill (2018); Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill (2018); and the Electoral Offences Commission Bill (2018).
He attributed the proposed bills to the efforts of the Electoral Reforms Committee led by former Senate president, Ken Nnamani. Malami stated that President Buhari remains committed to strengthening Nigeria’s electoral process, as evidenced in his decision to set up the Nnamani-led committee.
He said the administration would “ensure speedy resolution of pre-election matters and election disputes; impose stiffer penalties on electoral offenders, as well as enhance the independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission such that it would not be subjected to the directives or control of any authority.”
The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Yakubu Mahmood, reiterated his call for the establishment of an Electoral Offences Commission ahead of 2019 general elections. The INEC umpire claimed that most electoral offences were poorly investigated by the police.
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