Nigeria: NGO Decries Vote-Trading, Wants Electoral Offences Commission Established

Lokoja — Worried by the trend of vote-trading, which has continued to feature in the nation’s elections and, which might continue if the perpetrators go unpunished, a pro-democracy group, Action Aid Nigeria, has called for the establishment of Electoral Offences Commission to prosecute offenders across the country.

ActionAid decried vote buying and selling during elections in all its ramifications ahead of 2023 general election.

A communique issued at the end of its annual general meeting in Lokoja yesterday, the group berated the political stakeholders for engaging in vote trading in the country.

“We, therefore, call for the establishment of the National Electoral Offences Commission to prosecute electoral offenders. In addition, INEC adhoc staff should be retrained on the electoral processes, especially, on how to operate the Biometric Voters’ Accreditation System (BVAS).

“INEC should take lessons from the Anambra polls and re-evaluate its readiness for subsequent elections. There is need for the review and clean-up of the national electoral voters’ register for citizens to ascertain the real numbers of eligible voters across the country,” it said.

Furthermore, the group has urged the Nigerian government to deploy advanced ICT to combat crime and criminality, noting that bandits were committing heinous crimes against the Nigerian state and must be treated as terrorists to enable the military adopt the necessary rule of engagements.

On the implementation of the recommendations of the judicial panels set up across the country to investigate the SARS related abuses and other matters, ActionAid said the development would present an opportunity for the current administration to take a strong stand against human rights violations in the country.

“This includes disciplinary actions and dismissal of security officials indicted in the investigations as well as the immediate release of citizens arrested during the protests and compensation of those found to have been abused.

“The federal government through the National Orientation Agency should intensify the campaign on COVID-19 vaccination and co-opt religious and traditional rulers as champions to reduce misconceptions and myths surrounding the vaccination especially, in the face of the emergent Omicron variant.

“We call on the federal government to promptly implement all contents of the FGN/ASUU agreement. Government should declare a state of emergency on education to rebuild it and ensure that the children of the poor get quality education,” the communique stated.

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