The Independent National Elector Commission (INEC) has said all electoral offenders will be punished according to the provisions of the electoral act.
The chairman of the commission, Mahmood Yakubu made this known on Tuesday, reacting to the president’s comment on ballot box snatchers.
“The position of the commission is that all violators of electoral act should be punished according to the provisions of the electoral act.”
The president, Muhammadu Buhari, had, on Monday, said thugs and ballot box snatchers would be ruthlessly dealt with by security agents.
“Anybody who thinks he has enough influence in his locality to lead a body of thugs to snatch ballot boxes or disturbs the voting system will do so at the expense of his own life,” he said.
This comment drew criticisms from across the country as many Nigerians accused the president of giving the security agencies a subtle approval to resort to jungle justice.
The president’s party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the presidency, have, however, defended Mr Buhari’s comments, saying the president was sending a “strong message” to perpetrators of election violence.
The law, clearly, does not make provisions for the killing of electoral offenders.
Section 129 subsection (4) of the electoral act provides two years imprisonment for offenders.
“Any person who snatches or destroys any election material commits an offence and is liable on conviction to 24 months imprisonment.”
Section 128 of the act adds that “any person, who, at an election, acts or incites others to act in a disorderly manner, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of N500, 000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both”.