Following the incessant high cases of electoral offences in Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has proposed a fine of N500,000 or three years imprisonment or both for persons convicted of vote buying and selling.
The commission said that the adoption of the measure would in a greater way curb the menace.
Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu stated this at the 9th Forum of the Anti-Corruption Situation Room, organised by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda, HEDA, held in Abuja, Wednesday.
Represented at the event by INEC National Commissioner and chairman, Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, Mahmood decried the embarrassment that the commission has had to face from international community.
He urged the National Assembly to evolve new legislations to curb the ugly trend.
He said: “The National Assembly should isolate vote buying, selling and properly define it, it varieties and ingredients and make it a separate item in the Electoral Act and provide sanction for violation.
“The punishment for vote buying should be increased and made stiffer to act as a deterrent to buyers and sellers. Those that commit the offence of buying and selling should be made to pay a fine of N500,000 or be subjected to three years imprisonment or both.
“Restriction on the use of smart phones in the polling units should be imputed into the Electoral Act and violators should be liable on conviction to find of N500,000 or three years imprisonment or both.”
Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, the chairman of the event, said that candidates indicted for electoral offences by Election Petition Tribunals, should be stopped from taking part in rerun elections, where the polls are nullified.