Why INEC can’t prosecute electoral offenders – Jega

INEC-CIVIL SOCIETY DIALOGUE IN ABUJA

INEC says lack of funds and personnel hamper prosecution of electoral offenders

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Attahiru Jega, on Wednesday in Abuja said the commission cannot successfully prosecute electoral offenders because it lacks adequate funds and manpower.

The commission, during the course of various elections across Nigeria, apprehended about 870 thousand electoral offenders, Mr. Jega said.

Only 200 of these, 0.02 per cent, have been successfully prosecuted.

The commission chairman said this at the INEC / Civil Society dialogue on plans and progress toward the 2015 elections. Mr. Jega said the prosecution was over offences arising from the 2011 voter registration and general elections.

One of the thousands of electoral offenders yet to be prosecuted is a serving senator from Bayelsa State whom the commission said it caught with ballot boxes and thumb-printed ballot papers during elections.

Mr. Jega said prosecuting has been “a big problem” because of paucity of funds and manpower.

“In actual fact some of those apprehended have been prosecuted and convicted but the number is just too small compared to those remaining,” he added.

He said one of those convicted was “a youth corper was also prosecuted and sentenced in Ondo for electoral manipulation.”

The electoral chairman said the police was in charge of prosecuting offenders until it was handed over to INEC, adding that the task was beyond the capacity of INEC and should not be left with the commission.

He said if INEC was saddled with the responsibility of prosecuting electoral offenders its major mandate would suffer because the quantum of offenders would be too much for the commission.

Mr. Jega called on government to work on the “Uwais panel report, on electoral reform, that recommended that a separate body should be set up to handle electoral offences”.

NAN

  • Kayode Idowu

    Dear Editor,

    Your report on statements by the INEC Chairman at the ongoing INEC-CSO is grossly in adequate.
    what the Chairman said was that the Commission lacks Institutional capacity to effectively prosecute Electoral offenders,in view of the sheer population of such offenders and other work schedules of INEC legal staff like Party nomination disputes and election petitions. He said nothing about lack of funds. The attribution about the arrest of a youth Corper in Ondo is also utterly false.

    The incident he mentioned concerning Ondo is that a duly trained Ad-hoc staff(Corper) failed to show up on Election Day in Ilaje, thus forcing the Commission to Suspend the Poll in that area.
    Kindly reflect these corrections on your Site please.

    Kayode Idowu,

    Chief press Secretary to Hon.Chairman.

  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    With professor Attahiru Jega revelation of lack of no fund and personnels to prosecute electoral offenders,it exposes the hidden truth against president Jonathan claim that he already carried out the full implementation of justice Uwais-electoral reformation recommendations report.

    What is the job of Nigerian police in prosecuting electoral offenders?Why INEC has been prevented from having a secure autonomous line-of credit account of its own without INEC chairman partisanly leaning toward PDP-president Jonathan for funds before essential and urgent INEC priorities are executed and achieved.

    This shows that justice Uwais electoral reformation recommendations were not implemented by president Jonathan till date.

    President Jonathan just can not be trusted as he does not meant well for Nigeria but just keeps lying and lying to Nigerians.

    Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan,

    Canada.