The Sokoto State Police Commissioner, CP Mohammed Usaini Gumel has advised citizens to be acquainted with the electoral laws, especially those directly related to the conduct of elections.
In the heels of the forthcoming 2023 general elections, Gumel in a statement by the spokesperson of command, DSP Sanusi Abubakar on Tuesday, drew the attention of the general public to promote “the uniformity of intentions among the electorates, candidates contesting elective positions, the government and security officials towards free, fair and credible election to thrive.”
Gumel further warned citizens “to avoid falling foul on any of the 11 major electoral offences contained in the Electoral Act, 2022 as amended:
1. Voting by unregistered persons: Attempt by unregistered persons to vote without PVC violates Part VII, No. 124 of the Electoral Act and you could be liable to 6 months jail term or N100,000 fine or both.
2. Secrecy in voting: Exposing voters’ confidentiality violates Part VII No. 122 of the Electoral Act.
Electoral officers, candidates or party agents who pays to ask voters for evidence is punishable with N100,000 fine or 6 months imprisonment or both.
3. Vote buying: Vote-buying or selling with money, contract or public office, etc violates Part VII No. 121 of Electoral Act and punishable with N500,000 fine or 12 months imprisonment or both.
4. Disorderliness at polling units: Public disorder, arguments, struggles in queues, possession of weapons at poling units Part VII No. 125 of Electoral Act and punishable with N500,000 fine or 12 months in jail or both.
6. Wrongful voting and false statement: Voting illegally or falsely publishing candidate’s withdrawal or personal character violates Part VII No. 123 of Electoral Act and punishable with N100,000 fine or 6 months imprisonment or both.
7. Threat: Direct or indirect threat with violence to compel or refrain voters or other freedom during election violates Part VII No 128 of Electoral Act and punishable with N1,000,000 fine or three years in prison.
8. Undue influence: Giving or accepting monetary or other inducements before or during an election to refrain from voting on election day violates Part VII No. 127 of Electoral Act and punishable with N100,000 fine or 6 months imprisonment or both.
9. Snatching or destruction of election materials: Snatching or destruction of election materials or devices violates Part VII No. 126 of Electoral Act and punishable with 24 months imprisonment.
10. Impersonating Electoral official: This attracts N1,000,000 fine or 12 months imprisonment or both.
11. Other offenses: These include: Unlawful possession of a ballot paper, illegal printing of ballot papers or illegal production or importation of ballot boxes all attract a fine of N50,000,000 or imprisonment of not less than 10 years or both.
“The command will decisively deal with violators in accordance with the provision of the Electoral Act, the Constitution and other extant laws,” Gumel warned.
He further drew the attention of law-abiding citizens in the state, especially political parties and candidates to “prevail on their members and followers to always note and remain guided on the provisions of the aforementioned electoral offences.
”The CP expressed appreciation “for the continued cooperation of all critical stakeholders, especially those that attended its maiden stakeholders Colloquium and the subsequent supports and understanding the command enjoyed during the ongoing political parties campaigns.
“The command specifically appreciate the enormous supports from the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), the judiciary, media houses, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), the Zonal office if the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state for their contributions towards sensitizing the public,” he said.
He urged them to continue to promote wider circulation of the jingle series being rolled out by the Police Command aimed at educating the general public.