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Warning! You’ll Go to Jail If You Commit Any of These Offences on Election Day

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As Nigerians head to the polls for the 2023 general elections to elect leaders in various capacities across the country, certain rules have been laid down for which offenders are liable to penalties ranging from fine, jail terms or both.

Against this background, it’s critical that the electorate get to intimately understand the laws and what constitutes as electoral offences and how to avoid all that before, during and after the elections.

According to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, anyone in breach of any of these provisions is liable to being arrested and charged to court and prosecuted by INEC after investigation by the relevant Security Agencies.

The offences and corresponding penalties are contained in the Commission’s Electoral Offences and Penalties published in February 2019.

These are some of the electoral offences prescribed by Nigerian Law as of December 31, 2018.

Voter Registration

OFFENCE: Registering more than once, unlawful possession of a voter’s card, selling or buying of voters card

PENALTY: A fine not exceeding N100,000 or imprisonment for one year or both

OFFENCE: Giving false information in any application for registration as a voter

PENALTY: A fine not exceeding N500,000 or 12 months imprisonment or both

OFFENCE: Hindering another person from registering as a voter

PENALTY: A fine not exceeding N500,000 or 5 years imprisonment or both.

OFFENCE: Impersonating a registration official, carrying out registration of persons illegally or forging a registration card

PENALTY: A maximum fine of N1,000,000 or 12 months imprisonment or to both.

Nomination

OFFENCES:

(a) Forging a nomination paper or result form;

(b) Wilfully defacing or destroying a nomination paper or result form;

(c) Delivering to an electoral officer a forged nomination paper or result

(d) Signs a nomination paper or result form as a candidate in more than one constituency at the same election

PENALTY: Person who commits an offence under subsection (1) of this section is liable on conviction to a maximum term of imprisonment for 2 years.

Ballot Papers and Ballot Boxes

OFFENCES:

a. Unlawful possession of a ballot paper

b. Illegal printing of ballot papers

c. Illegal production or importation of ballot boxes.

PENALTY: A maximum fine of N50,000,000 or for a term of imprisonment of not less than 10 years or both.

Disorderly Behaviour at Political Meetings

OFFENCE: To act in a disorderly manner or be in possession of offensive weapon of a political meeting

PENALTY: A maximum fine of N500,000 or imprisonment for 12 months or both

Improper Use of Voter Card

OFFENCE: Unlawful giving of a voter’s card to some other person for use at an election other than, an officer appointed to do so; being in possession of more than one voters cards

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PENALTY: A maximum fine of N1,000,000 or imprisonment for 12 months or both

Improper Use of Vehicles

OFFENCE: Conveying any person to a registration office or to a polling unit by government vehicle or boat, except in respect of a person who is entitled to use such vehicle or boat

PENALTY: A maximum fine of N500,000.00 or imprisonment for six months or both

Impersonation and Voting when not Qualified

OFFENCE: A person voting or attempting to vote at an election when he/she is not qualified, or inducing a person to vote at an election knowing that such person is not qualified.

PENALTY: A maximum fine of N500,000 or 12 months imprisonment or both.

Dereliction of Duty/ False result

OFFENCE: A Polling Officer failing to report on time or to discharge his duties on an election day without lawful excuse

PENALTY: On conviction to a maximum fine of N500,000 or 12 months imprisonment or both.

OFFENCE: Announces or publishing a false election result

PENALTY: 36 months imprisonment.

Announcing or Publishing A False Election Result

OFFENCE: Returning Officer or Collation Officer or person delivering a false certificate of return.

PENALTY: 3 years imprisonment without an option of fine.

Bribery and Conspiracy: Vote Buying

OFFENCES

a. Paying money to any other person for bribery at any election. On conviction to a maximum fine of N500,000 or 12 months imprisonment or both.

b. Receiving any money or gift, for voting or to refrain from voting at any election.

PENALTY: A maximum fine of N500,000 or imprisonment for 12 months or both

Requirement of Secrecy in Voting

OFFENCES:

a. Not maintaining the secrecy of voting at a polling unit.

b. Interfering with a voter casting his vote

PENALTY: A maximum fine of N100,000 or to imprisonment for a term of 6 months or both.

Wrongful Voting and False Statements

OFFENCES:

a. Illegal voting at an election

b. Publishing any statement of the withdrawal of a candidate or about his personal character.

PENALTY: A maximum fine of N100,000 or imprisonment for a term of 6 months or both.

Voting by Unregistered Persons

OFFENCE: To bring into a polling unit during an election a voter’s card issued to another person

PENALTY: A fine of N100,000 or to imprisonment for a term of 6 months or both.

Disorderly Conducts at Elections

OFFENCE: Inciting others to act in a disorderly manner

PENALTY: A maximum fine of N500,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both.

OFFENCES:

Within a distance of 300 meters of a polling unit

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a. Canvassing for votes, persuading any voter not to vote for any particular candidate or being in possession of any offensive weapon, wear or display any notice, symbol, photograph or party card

b. Using any vehicle bearing the colour or symbol of a political, loitering around a polling unit blaring siren.

PENALTY: A fine of N 100,000 or imprisonment for a term of 6 months.

OFFENCE: Snatching or destruction of any election material

PENALTY: 24 months imprisonment.

Undue Influence

OFFENCE: Accepting money or any other inducement during an election.

PENALTY: A fine of N 100,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both.

Threatening

OFFENCES:

a. Threatening a person with violence or injury to compel that person to vote or refrain from voting

b. Preventing any political aspirant from free use of the media vehicles, mobilization of political support and campaign at an election;

PENALTY: A fine of N1,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of 3 years.

Campaign and Campaign Finance

OFFENCE: Unlawful possession of a weapon at a political rally or voting centre

PENALTY: A maximum fine of N2,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of 2 years or both.

OFFENCE: Threatening any person with violence during any political campaign

PENALTY: In the case of an individual, to a maximum fine of N1,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months. In case of a political party, a fine of N2,000,000 in the first instance, and N500,000 for any subsequent offence.

OFFENCES:

Campaigning in public earlier than 90 days before polling day or ending it less than 24 hours to the election.

A political party, advertising in a newspaper , radio or TV less than 24 hours before polling day

PENALTY: A maximum fine of N500,000

OFFENCES:

Employing State apparatus including the media to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate at any election.

Unequal allocation of Media time among political parties or candidates

PENALTY: A maximum fine of N500,000 in the first instance and to a maximum fine of N1,000,000.00 for subsequent conviction.

OFFENCE: Broadcasting or publishing any material for the purpose of promoting or opposing a particular political party or a candidate during 24 hours immediately preceding or on polling day.

PENALTY: A maximum fine of N500,000 or to imprisonment for a term of 12 months and in case of a body corporate shall pay a maximum fine of N1,000,000

Offences relating to finances of a political party

OFFENCE: A Political Party possessing any fund outside or retaining funds or other asset remitted to it from outside Nigeria

PENALTY: Forfeiture of the funds or assets to the Commission and in addition may be liable to a fine of not less than N500,000.

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Limitations on Election Expenses and Contribution to a Political Party

OFFENCE: A Presidential Candidate incurring more than N1,000,000,000 as election expenses.

PENALTY: Presidential election, to a maximum fine of N1,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both

OFFENCE: A Governorship candidate incurring more than N200,000,000

PENALTY: Governorship election to a fine of N800.000 or imprisonment for a term of 9 months or both

OFFENCE: A Senatorial and House of Representatives candidates exceeding N40,000,000 and N20,000,000 respectively.

PENALTY: Senatorial election to a fine of N600,000 or imprisonment for a term of 6 months or both House of Representatives election to a fine of N500,000 or imprisonment for a term of 5 months or both;

OFFENCE: A candidate for State Assembly election spending more than N10,000,000.

PENALTY: State House of Assembly election to a fine of N300,000 or imprisonment for a term of 3 months or both;

OFFENCE: A candidate for Chairmanship of an Area Council incurring more than ten million naira N10,000,000

PENALTY: In the case of Chairmanship election, to a fine of N300,000 or imprisonment for a term of 3 months or both

OFFENCE: In the case of Councillorship election to an Area Council, exceeding more than the maximum of election expenses of one million naira N1,000,000

PENALTY: Councillorship election, to a fine of N100,000 or imprisonment for a term of one month or both

OFFENCE: An individual or other entity donating more than N1,000,000 to any candidate.

PENALTY: A maximum fine of N500,000 or imprisonment for a term of 9 months or both.

OFFENCES:

Aiding a candidate to forge or falsify a document relating to his expenditure at an election Imprisonment for a term of 10 years.

Refusal by a political party to submit its election expenses to INEC in a separate audited return within 6 months after an election

PENALTY: A maximum fine of N1,000,000 and in the case of failure to submit an accurate audited return within the stipulated period, the court may impose a maximum penalty of N200,000 per day on any party for the period after the return was due until it is submitted to the Commission.

OFFENCE: A political party shall not incur election expenses beyond the limit stipulated in this Act. A political party which contravenes this subsection commits an offence and is liable on conviction.

PENALTY: A maximum fine of N1,000,000 and forfeiture to the Commission of the amount by which the expenses exceed the limit set by the Commission.

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Economic Hardship: Sanwo-Olu Slashes Transport by 25%, Approves 3-Day Work Week

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Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has announced a 25 per cent slash in transport fares for government-owned transport schemes.

Sanwo-Olu, who made this announcement during a live media chat tagged: ‘Sanwo Speaks,’ on Thursday, said that civil servants from levels 1–14 will begin to work three days a week as part of measures to ease the economic challenges.

He explained that the forum was meant to intimate residents of measures adopted to reduce the economic burden on Lagosians.

The governor noted that workers in the teaching sector will, however, maintain the five-day-a-week work schedule, while the government will ensure additional transportation support for them.

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Hardship Caused by APC under Buhari, Reason Tinubu’s Unable to Speak Out, Says Gbenga Daniel

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The Senator representing Ogun East senatorial district, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has expressed his wish that President Bola Tinubu should speak on the already failed economy he inherited from former President Muhammadu Buhari, detailing the efforts he has put in to strengthen the economy since assuming office.

Senator Daniel added that Tinubu has refrained from speaking because the same party he is standing for, was largely responsible for the misdeeds in the past.

The former Governor of Ogun State noted that Tinubu could not talk about the realities at the moment, pleading with Nigerians to persevere and show understanding and cooperation with the present administration as it remains committed to a more prosperous nation.

He further appealed to Nigerians to encourage the president, emphasising that he has done a lot in salvaging the country.

Daniel, who admitted hardship in the country, hinted that the menace was caused by the past government but hoped for better days.

“Our President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has done a lot. I wish he could talk now but he can’t talk because this is the same party he stood for, so he can’t; but from what I know we just have to praise his courage. We know things are very difficult but we need to encourage Mr. President, we urge our people to be patient, by the special grace of God everything will be alright.”

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Atiku’s Aide Accuses Tinubu’s Govt of Diverting Funds Through Fake Petrol Subsidy

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Phrank Shaibu, a Special Assistant on Public Communication to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has alleged that the refusal of the Federal government to react to recent reports on the return of petrol subsidy shows that public funds have started going into private pockets.

Shaibu made the allegation through a statement while reacting to reports by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the Nigerian government has begun paying petrol subsidy again.

According to media reports, monthly subsidy payment is nearly N1 trillion, far in excess of exceeds the amount paid monthly by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Reacting to the allegation, Shaibu said it has become clear that one of the reasons the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has not been paying the required amount of money into the government’s account is because monies are being diverted under an opaque and secret subsidy regime.

He alleged: “Tinubu has been boasting at every economic forum that he deserves to be in the Guinness Book of records for removing petrol subsidy.

“He even said before ringing the closing bell at NASDAQ in New York last September that the ‘corrupt subsidy’ regime and FX issues had been resolved.

“But as every other thing relating to Tinubu, this has turned out to be another lie from the pit of hell. Currently, the exchange rate based on what the Central Bank of Nigeria recommended to the Nigeria Customs Service is N1515/$1.

“Hence diesel price is now over N1,200 but petrol is still selling for between N600 and N700.

“Nigeria is the only country in the world where such disparity between diesel and petrol exists. It has become obvious that petrol subsidy has returned through the backdoor.

“With the return of petrol subsidy, oil marketers have opted out and that is why the NNPC has returned to being the sole importer of petrol once more and has the temerity to be announcing that it will not increase petrol cost regardless of the international price of crude oil and the exchange rate.

“To be clear, petrol subsidy in itself is not a bad thing when it is done transparently.”

Shaibu added: “Former CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi, expressed shock last month that NNPC was still not remitting FX into government’s accounts.

“It is now obvious why this has been happening. Subsidy has returned but it is now being done in a corrupt and secret manner as funds are now being diverted into private pockets even worse than under Buhari. This is the Tinubu Lagos legacy from Lagos State.”

Shaibu said it was disappointing that the Finance Minister, Wale Edun; and CBN Governor, Yemi Cardoso, who both claimed to have gotten their appointments based on their expertise had failed to speak up but had continued to cover up the petrol subsidy.

He also alleged that the Tinubu government had continued to frustrate the takeoff of the Dangote refinery which would have at least reduced Nigeria’s FX demands.

“The media reported last week that lingering regulatory approvals have stalled Dangote Petrochemical Refinery’s plan to release aviation fuel (Jet A1) and diesel for sale in the Nigerian market.

“At the same time, Dangote refinery has been struggling to get the needed crude oil and has decided to import from the United States while the NNPC which has no business with monetary policy, committed Nigeria’s crude oil for a $3.3 billion Afreximbank loan ostensibly to stabilise the naira.

“It is obvious that Tinubu and his so-called economic team are quacks, charlatans who put their personal interest ahead of that of the country. With such Lilliputians at the helm of affairs, Nigeria’s economic woes are about to go from bad to worse,” Shaibu added.

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