The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has said that contrary to the directive President Muhammadu Buhari gave to the police and the military to shoot ballot box snatchers, culprits of electoral violence would be punished in accordance to the Electoral Act.
Although Part VIII, Section 129 (sub IV) of the Electoral Act stipulates that anybody who snatches or destroys any election material shall be liable on conviction to 24 months imprisonment, President Buhari had revealed during an emergency national caucus meeting that he had ordered security agents to shoot on sight anyone caught in the act. He said:
”Anybody who decides to snatch boxes or lead thugs to disturb the election, maybe that would be the last unlawful action you would take. I have given the military and police the order to be ruthless.
”I am going to warn anybody who thinks he would lead a body of thugs in his locality to snatch boxes or to disturb the voting system; he would do it at the expense of his/her own life.”
However, reacting to the directive during a media parley to update Nigerians on the progress made by the commission ahead of this weekend’s poll, the electoral INEC boss, Yakubu Mahmood said:
“The position on the shoot-on-sight order is that the violators of the Electoral Act should be punished according to the provisions of the Electoral Act.”