Nigeria’s main anti-corruption agency has opposed the establishment of a separate commission to investigate and prosecute electoral offenders in the country.
An Assistant Commander of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Deborah Ademu-Eteh, made the position of the anti-graft agency known. It was at a public hearing on a bill to establish an Electoral Offences Commission. The hearing was organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Electoral Matters.
Ademu-Eteh said the offences provided for in the electoral offenses bill have already been covered by various laws of the land, including the 2022 Electoral Act.
“Most of the speakers here have come out to support the establishment of the Commission. But we have a different position.
“The bill for an Act to establish the National Electoral Offences Commission and For Related matters, 2022 seeks to provide for the establishment of a National Electoral Offences Commission which wilt coordinate the investigation and prosecution of electoral offences.
“A holistic review of the contents of the proposed bill shows that the offences contained therein in Part IV (Sections 13-32) largely constitute offences that have already been criminalized by extant laws such as the Electoral Act, 2022 (See Sections 114-129), The Penal and Criminal Codes, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Act, 2000; The Economic and Financial Crimes (Establishment)Act, 2004.
“lt is apposite to state that these offences are offences that the Nigerian Police, the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), and even the Independent National Electoral Commission (in Section 145 of the Electoral Act, 2022) are empowered under our extant laws to investigate and prosecute.
“There is, therefore, no need to create an agency solely for the purpose of investigating and prosecuting electoral offences most especially when our electoral process is seasonal in nature being that elections are held once in 4 years in the Country.
“Furthermore, it is our suggestion that the existing law enforcement agencies should be strengthened to achieve maximum output Instead of creating a new agency of investigation and prosecution of electoral offences in the light of the ongoing plan to implement the Oronsanye Committee’s proposal by the Federal Government of Nigeria,” she stated.
Click on The Trumpet and follow us on our Twitter page for more: