FG makes case for establishment of Electoral Offences Tribunal

• Inaugurates 25-member constitution, electoral reform committee

Worried by incessant cases of violence in  the electoral processes in the country, the Federal Government, on Tuesday, made case for the establishment of an electoral offences tribunal to prosecute electoral offenders and to prevent  electoral misbehaviour.

The Attorney- General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said this  on Tuesday, in Abuja, while inaugurating the Senator Ken Nnamani-led committee on constitution and electoral reform.

“The issues of internal democracy structures and the need to prevent the use of illicit funds in the electoral processes as well as the establishment of an electoral offences tribunal are pertinent, if we must evolve globally acceptable electoral system”.

He said a situation where electoral officials are killed, kidnapped or where politicians make the environment for elections a war theatre, forcing the electoral body to seek extra-security measures to protect their officials, are issues that require bold legal, legislative and institutional action.

The AGF said, it is therefore, imperative to undertake a constitutional and electoral reconstruct to address the challenges confronting the nation’s electoral process so as to enthrone more transparency and to build people’s confidence in the democratic process of the country.

He reminded that, it is out of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to democracy and to entrench the culture of an enduring electoral system as well as the imperfections inherent in the  current electoral process that the committee on constitution and electoral reform was  inaugurated.

Malami said he expects the committee to look into possible  amendments to the Constitution and the Electoral Act as well as other legal instruments concerning elections to facilitate the attainment of a robust and generally acceptable electoral system.

He charged the committee to review the electoral environment, relevant laws and experiences from recent elections in Nigeria and make recommendations that would ensure the conduct of a free and fair election in the country.

The terms of reference for the committee are: the review of the laws impacting elections on Nigeria to access their impact and adequacy for the administration of elections in Nigeria and to also review the recent judicial decisions on election petitions as they relate to conflicting judgments, absence of consequential orders and  delays in the insuance of certified true copies of judgements.

Other mandates of the 25-member committee include, the review of the lessons learnt from  2015 elections and make recommendations for the improvement of the electoral process, identify and assess international best practices on elections and electoral systems relevant to Nigeria’s experience.