With less than 48 hours to the 2023 general election, voters or any persons in breach of any of these electoral laws or who commit such offences are liable to be arrested and charged to court and prosecuted by INEC.
According to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, anyone in breach of any of these provisions can be arrested, charged to court and prosecuted by INEC after an investigation by the relevant Security Agencies.
The offences and corresponding penalties are contained in the Commission’s Electoral Offences and Penalties published in February 2019. For easy access, here are the main highlights;
Ballot Papers and Ballot Boxes
a. Unlawful possession of a ballot paper
b. Illegal printing of ballot papers
c. Illegal production or importation of ballot boxes.
PENALTY: A maximum fine of N50,000,000 or for a term of imprisonment of not less than 10 years or both.
Improper Use of Voter Card
OFFENCE: Unlawful giving of a voter’s card to some other person for use at an election other than, an officer appointed to do so; being in possession of more than one voter’s cards
PENALTY: A maximum fine of N1,000,000 or imprisonment for 12 months or both
OFFENCE: A person voting or attempting to vote at an election when not qualified, or inducing a person to vote at an election knowing that such person is not qualified.
PENALTY: A maximum fine of N500,000 or 12 months imprisonment or both.
Announcing of Fake Election Result
OFFENCE: Announces or publishes a false election result
PENALTY: 36 months imprisonment.
Announcing or Publishing A False Election Result by Returning Officer
OFFENCE: Returning Officer or Collation Officer or the person delivering a false certificate of return.
PENALTY: 3 years imprisonment without an option of fine.
a. Paying money to any other person for bribery at any election. On conviction to a maximum fine of N500,000 or 12 months imprisonment or both.
b. Receiving any money or gift, for voting or refraining from voting at any election.
PENALTY: A maximum fine of N500,000 or imprisonment for 12 months or both
Disturbance of Secrecy at Polling Unit
a. Not maintaining the secrecy of voting at a polling unit.
b. Interfering with a voter casting his vote
PENALTY: A maximum fine of N100,000 or imprisonment for a term of 6 months or both.
Possession of Another Person’s Voter Card
OFFENCE: To bring into a polling unit during an election a voter’s card issued to another person
PENALTY: A fine of N100,000 or imprisonment for a term of 6 months or both.
Inciting others for Violence
OFFENCE: Inciting others to act in a disorderly manner
PENALTY: A maximum fine of N500,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both.
Campaigning within a distance of 300 meters of a polling unit, which includes;
a. Canvassing for votes, persuading any voter not to vote for any particular candidate or being in possession of any offensive weapon, wearing or displaying any notice, symbol, photograph or party card
b. Using any vehicle bearing the colour or symbol of a political, loitering around a polling unit blaring a siren.
PENALTY: A fine of N 100,000 or imprisonment for a term of 6 months.
Destruction of Votes or any Election Materials
OFFENCE: Snatching or destruction of any election material
PENALTY: 24 months imprisonment.
Inducement of Voters
OFFENCE: Accepting money or any other inducement during an election.
PENALTY: A fine of N 100,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both.
Threatening a person with violence or injury to compel that person to vote or refrain from voting
PENALTY: A fine of N1,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of 3 years.
Unlawful Possession of a Weapon
OFFENCE: Unlawful possession of a weapon at a political rally or voting centre
PENALTY: A maximum fine of N2,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of 2 years or both.
You can read a much more comprehensive guide here.