The Rivers State Head of Voter Education and Publicity of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Edwin Enabor, has warned that voters caught with firearms around polling units will be arrested and prosecuted.
Enabor explained that any culprit found guilty risked two years jail term or a fine of N2 million upon conviction.
He issued this warning in Port Harcourt during a town hall meeting organised by a civil society organisation, Accord for Development, in partnership with INEC to sensitise women on ways to enhance women’s participation in elections.
Enabor stated that the commission had been empowered by the Electoral Act, 2010, to arrest and prosecute electoral offenders.
Represented by Mark Usilor, a staff of the INEC in Rivers State, Enabor further stated that any form of violence against women, even political parties that sideline women seeking public office from fully participating in the forthcoming elections, would be punished by INEC.
The INEC VEP added that anyone caught inducing voters against their will or threaten another not to vote would equally be arrested and prosecuted.
He said, “Anyone found culpable on electoral offences will be arrested and prosecuted. Anyone caught with firearms within the voting centres will be arrested and imprisoned for two years or pay a fine of N2m in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act, section 94(2), 2010.
“If you induce anyone with money or threaten a voter with any form of violence, not allowing them (electorate) to vote for their choice, then sections 130 and 131 will be against that individual.
“If he or she is caught and convicted by a law court, such a person will be imprisoned for three years or pay a fine of N1m or both.
“Any form of violence against women or any political party resisting women from having equal opportunities to campaign like their male counterparts, section 131 will be against that party or individual and they must pay a fine of N1m or face a jail term of three years or both.”
Enabor added that the sensitisation of women was aimed at awakening the consciousness of women on the provisions of the law in supporting them towards exercising their franchise during elections.
“All these are provisions in the Electoral Act, 2010, under electoral offences; that is why INEC has continued to sensitise the youths, women and ensuring that they exercise their franchise on the day of elections,” he said.