14th December, 2022
By Thompson Yamput
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it is already prosecuting an offender over use of foul language and hate speech which were election offence contrary and punishable under sections 91 to 97 of the new Electoral Act.
Dr Hale Longpet, Kogi Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC said this while warning politicians and their supporters against bullying, cyber sleuth and hate speeches during electioneering campaigns in Lokoja, the capital of Kogi State on Tuesday.
He spoke during the Commission’s engagement with representatives of political parties, traditional rulers, religious and community leaders.
The forum was one of series of stakeholders’ engagements and consultations preparatory organised by the commission towards the conduct of the 2023 general elections in Nigeria.
The commission engaged stakeholders on wide range of issues including Electioneering campaigns, Schedules of PVC distribution, security, election officials’ conduct before and during elections in the state.
Longpet said that the warning became necessary because INEC was committed to delivering a free, successful and credible elections in 2023.
“Already, we are prosecuting an election offender arising from use of foul language and hate speech having committing an election offence contrary and punishable under sections 91 to 97 of the new electoral law.
“As a commission, we will not condone thuggery, use of abusive language and cyber bullying of political opponents during electioneering campaigns for the forthcoming 2023 general elections in Kogi.
“This commission has been consistent in mapping out measures and procedures that will make the entire electoral process seamless for the voters, ” he said
The REC said that INEC embarked on an exercise tagged “expansion of vote access to polling units” aimed at ensuring that the Voter has a pleasant experience during the PVC collection and election day.
He said that the commission has made PVCs distribution so easy by taking them to the Ward level for people to conveniently pick their voters cards without cost of transportation and other logistical problems.
Longpet pledged to address the issues of terrains in-difficult-to-reach communities in the borderlines in Ibaji local government area, armed conflict in Bassa LGA, alleged misconduct and compromise of INEC electoral officers in the local government areas and inadequate logistics/ bottlenecks.
Responding, the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), expressed satisfaction with the measures taken by INEC towards achieving electoral sanity in the electoral process toward the 2023 polls.
Also, traditional rulers, religious and community leaders, pledged to convey INEC’S message of peace to the voters in their domains and expressed their shared resolve to end the culture of violence associated with previous elections geared towards peaceful elections in Kogi.
NAN reports that 12 political parties under the banner of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), traditional rulers, religious and community leaders as well as Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) attended the interactive session
The political parties in attendance include Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), NRM, Accord Party, APGA, APN; PRP; APC; APP; SDP; Action Alliance (AA) and Africa Action Congress (AAC) amongst others.