Reps Pass Electoral Act Amendment Bill After Opposition Lawmakers Walk Out

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The House of Representatives has passed the Electoral Amendment Bill, moments after opposition lawmakers walked out of the heated session at the National Assembly chambers in Abuja on Friday.

Nigeria’s lower chamber, by this, has stepped down the controversial section 52(3) of the bill which deals with the electronic transmission of election results.

Opposition lawmakers majorly from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) walked out of the session as they insisted that the clause was never carried.

They threatened to disrupt the proceedings when the House resumes from break.

The new amendment provides that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may consider electronic transmission so far as the national network coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) and approved by the National Assembly.

On Thursday, the Green Chamber failed to reach a consensus over the much-debated clause after the Deputy Speaker, Idris Wale ruled against the electronic transmission of election results in spite of a resounding vote in favour of the move.

Subsequently, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the NCC would be present on Friday to give further clarifications on the Electoral Act with a major focus on section 52(3).

The NCC which later honoured the invitation of the House of Reps explained that it cannot guarantee a 100% per cent safety of results for the electronic transmission of results, explaining that no system is completely free from hackers.

NCC’s Executive Commissioner (Stakeholder Management), Adeleke Adewolu admitted that no system can guarantee a 100 percent shield from hacking.

The NCC boss also stated that elections results can only be transmitted by a 3G network, noting that 50 percent of the country has 3G coverage.

The Senate has given a conditional nod for the electronic transmission of election results.

Already, the Senate had voted for the conditional electronic transmission of election results.

At the end of voting, 28 Senators mostly from the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) voted for the original amendment in the report while 52 Senators backed the amendment as proposed by Senator Sabi Abdullahi.

This means the majority of Senators voted that INEC may consider electronic transmission provided the national network coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by NCC and approved by the National Assembly.