Hate Speech: INEC Nab, Prosecute Electoral Offender in Kogi, Warn Politicians, Supporters

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has apprehended an electoral offender in Kogi state who will be prosecuted in the courts for violation of Sections 91-97 of the electoral act.

The State Resident Electoral Commissioner (RE), Dr. Hale Gabriel Longpet made this known in Lokoja during a stakeholders engagement with the traditional institution and representatives of political parties in the state on a wide range of issues of electioneering, schedules of PVC distribution, election security, conduct of election officials before and during conduct of elections in the state.

Longpet said INEC is prosecuting the the offender for use of foul language and hate speech.

He explained that the electoral offender, whose identity he did not disclose, is being tried in court for committing an election offence pursuant to sections 91-97 of new electoral law of the country which criminalize the use of abusive language in election campaigns as well cyber bullying of political opponents.

He warned politicians and their followers to be weary of committing these offences by avoiding cyber bullying, adding that “the Commission has been consistent in mapping out measures and procedures that will make the entire electoral process seamless for the voters”.

He added that the Commission has 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 subsequently on election day.

The electoral Commissioner said PVC distribution will be taken to Ward level to make it convenient for people to take their voters cards closer to them without cost of transportation and other logistical problems identified by the stakeholders at the interaction.

He promised 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 raised by some traditional rulers including Ejeh Ibaji, Ohiogba of Mozum and the Olujumu of Ijumuland and others.

Twelve political parties under the banner of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) attended the interactive session. 

The political parties in attendance included the 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.

The event is one of the series of stakeholders engagements and consultations preparatory to conduct of 2023 general elections in Nigeria.

IPAC, however, expressed satisfaction with the measures taken by INEC towards achieving electoral sanity in the electoral process while the traditional rulers on the other hand and pledged to convey INEC’s message of peace to the voters in their domains as they expressed their shared resolve to end the culture of violence associated with previous elections geared towards peaceful elections in the state in particular.

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