The provisions of these laws deal with the right to associate, vote, and form political parties. Others include registration of voters, Election Day procedures, and dispute resolution among others.
Violation of the provisions attracts a fine, imprisonment, or both.
However, this article highlights the offences and their penalties according to the Electoral Act 2022 that Nigerians should know.
There are various offences under this provision such as registering more than once, unlawful possession of a voter’s card, selling or buying of a voter’s card with a penalty of a fine not exceeding N100,000 or imprisonment for one year or both.
Also, giving false information in any application for registration as a voter attracts a fine of N500,000 or 12 months’ imprisonment, or both.
Hindering another person from registering as a voter attracts a fine of N500,000 or five years in prison or both.
Lastly, impersonating a registration official, carrying out illegal registration or forgoing a registration card attracts a maximum fine of N1 million or 12 months in prison or both.
Offences in relation to ballot papers and ballot boxes
The Act states that unlawful possession of a ballot paper, illegal printing of ballot papers or illegal production or importation of ballot boxes attracts a maximum fine of N50,000,000 or a term of imprisonment of not less than 10 years or both.
Improper use of voter card
Any unlawful handing of a voter’s card to some other person for use at an election other than an officer appointed to do so and being in possession of more than one voter’s card attract a fine of N1,000,000 or imprisonment for 12 months or both.
Bribery and conspiracy (vote buying)
Vote buying is a norm in Nigeria. This happens when a voter accepts money, contract, or public office among others during or after an election in exchange for voting for a said political party, or abstaining from voting altogether.
Paying money to any other person for bribery at any election or receiving any money or gift for voting or refraining from voting at any election attracts a fine of N500,000 or 12 months’ imprisonment or both.
Requirement of secrecy in voting
Party agents are fond of paying voters to cast their votes for their preferred candidate and asking them to display the ballot paper to ascertain they voted for the candidate they were paid to vote.
The act also states that not maintaining the secrecy of voting at a polling unit or interfering with a voter casting his vote attracts a fine of N100,000 or imprisonment for a term of six months or both.
Wrongful voting and false statements
The Electoral Act further states that anyone found guilty of illegal voting or publishing any statement of the withdrawal of a candidate or about his personal character shall be fined a maximum of N100,000 or six months in prison or both.
Voting by unregistered persons
Every person willing and qualified to vote in an election is expected to register with the Independent National Electoral Commission and get a Permanent Voters Card (PVC).
According to Part VII, No. 124 of the act, bringing a voter’s card issued to another person during an election, the offender shall be fined N100,000, a term of six months in prison, or both.
Disorderly conduct at elections
Disorderliness, such as inciting others to act in a disorderly manner which is common in Nigeria, shall be fined N500,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both.
Furthermore, soliciting for votes, persuading any voter not to vote for a particular candidate or being in possession of any offensive weapon or using any vehicle bearing the colour or symbol of a political party or loitering around a polling unit blaring siren shall attract a fine of N100,000 or six months’ imprisonment of both.
Undue influence means accepting money or any other inducement during an election, and the penalty is a fine of N100,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both.
The act states that threatening a person with violence, or injury to compel that person to vote or refrain from voting or preventing any political aspirant from free use of the media vehicles, mobilisation of political support and campaign at an election shall attract a fine of N1,000,000 or three years imprisonment.
Offences in respect of nomination
Here, the Act states that forging a nomination paper or result form, willfully defacing or destroying a nomination paper or result form, delivering to an electoral officer a forged nomination paper or result, signing a nomination paper or result form as a candidate in more than one constituency at the same election attracts a maximum term of two years in prison on conviction.
Dereliction of duty and false result
Under this, the Electoral Act states that a polling officer failing to report on time or to discharge his duties on an election day without a lawful excuse shall be punished on conviction to a maximum fine of N500,000 or 12 months imprisonment, or both.
Also, announcing or publishing a false election result shall attract 36 months’ imprisonment.
Snatching or destruction of election materials
Snatching or destruction of election materials or devices by any individual is an offence under the Electoral Act and Part VII No. 126 of the act notes that offenders shall be imprisoned for 24 months.