The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said the 9th National Assembly will ensure passage of the Electoral Offences bill before it winds down in June.
He said the aim is to curtail or end election violence.
Mr Gbajabiamila said this on Tuesday in his remarks at the resumption of plenary.
The presidential and National Assembly elections held on 25 February, while the governorship and states Houses of Assembly elections were held on 18 March.
The process and outcome of all the elections have been trailed by mixed reactions with some observers saying they lacked transparency and marred by violence.
Speaking on the process, Mr Gbajabiamila said an objective analysis of the election shows there have been improvements, adding that, the bill has the potential to create a system of vigorous prosecution and punishment of electoral offenders.
He noted that such action “will serve as a deterrent to others in the future and help build confidence in our elections.”
“The Electoral Offences Act is one area where we must take action before the culmination of the 9th House of Representatives. The Act is necessary to ensure effective enforcement against individuals and organisations whose violations of our electoral laws undermine our constitution and threaten our democracy.
“A system of vigorous prosecution and punishment of electoral offenders will serve as a deterrent to others in the future and help build confidence in our elections,” he said.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) opposed the establishment of the Electoral Offences Commission, noting that it is a duplication of duties.
Mr Gbajabiamila noted that the 2022 Electoral Act has significantly improved the electoral process, particularly the introduction of technology.
He said further review of the law will improve the electoral process in the country.
“The amendments to the Electoral Act by the 9th National Assembly have been particularly instrumental in improving the elections process through the use of technology tools to facilitate voter accreditation and transmission of results.
“With each new election season, we become more aware of areas requiring changes to ensure a better outing next time. This process of ongoing reform and continuous improvement must continue,” he said.
The Speaker also appealed to INEC to “collaborate with stakeholders to conduct a meticulous assessment of the election process. This is necessary to inform further reforms and improvements.”
Decline in women representation at NASS
Mr Gbajabiamila also noted the decline in the number of women elected into the National Assembly and the inability of the legislature to address the gender gap.
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In the 25 National Assembly elections, only three women were elected into the Senate and 15 into the House of Representatives. There are currently 13 women in the lower chamber.
“We fell short this time in our commitment to ensuring political empowerment and representation for women and other marginalised groups in our country.
“In the time we have left, we will work to understand why, as a first step towards ensuring the success of subsequent efforts,” he said.
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