Members of the House of Representatives made a further push for electoral reforms and credible polls in the country on Thursday by passing a bill to establish and electoral offences commission for second reading.
The bill sets out the framework for investigating, prosecuting and punishing electoral offenders.
Ballot-snatching, thuggery, vote-buying, arson and killing often accompany polls in the country, with offenders mostly escaping punishment.
However, lawmakers said on Thursday that this ugly trend must change with the proposed law.
The long title of the bill reads, “A Bill for an Act to Establish National Electoral Offences Commission and the Electoral Offences Tribunal to Provide for the Legal Framework for Investigation and Prosecution of Electoral Offences for the general Improvement of the Electoral Process in Nigeria; and for . Matters”.
It was sponsored by Rep. John Dyegh, Rep. Aishatu Dukku, Rep. Francis Charles Uduyok and Rep. Kingsley Chinda.
Members, who contributed to the debate on Thursday, all spoke in support of the bill.
For instance, the Chief Whip of the House, Rep. Mohammed Monguno, said the bill would guarantee transparent elections.
He stated,”This bill is relevant to the quest for Nigeria to attain a truly democratic status in the comity of nations, especially against the backdrop of the clamour to deliver a free, fair and accountable electoral process.
“T. is the need for us give Nigerians transparent elections.”
On her part, Dukku observed that “electoral crimes subvert the democratic wishes of the people”, urging colleagues to support the bill in order to guard the wishes of the people by prosecuting all electoral offenders.
“This why this commission is necessary to ensure that votes are jealousy guarded and that at the end of the day, they reflect the true wishes of the people”, she stated.
The bill passed second reading in a unanimous decision and was referred to the Committee on Electoral Matters for further legislative action.
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