Electoral Offenders’ Prosecution, South West Commission Bills Scale Second Reading

A file photo of lawmakers during plenary in the Senate Chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.



The bill seeking the establishment of a commission to prosecute electoral offenders in the country has passed second reading in the Senate.

During Wednesday’s plenary, a bill for an act to establish the South West Development Commission was also read and passed for the second time.

Both bills were sponsored separately by Senator Abubakar Kyari and Senator Ibikunle Amosun.

In his presentation, Senator Kyari explained that the eventual passage of the electoral bill would help tackle rigging, vote-buying, violence, waste of resources, and other offences that weaken the nation’s electoral process.

On the other hand, the South West Development Commission seeks to act as a catalyst to develop the commercial and industrial potentials of the region.

According to the sponsor of the bill, the commission will receive and manage funds from Federation Allocation for the agricultural and industrial development of the South West, and for any other related educational backwardness as well as security and development challenges and other connected matters.

In his contribution, Senator Teslim Folarin declared his support for the bill, adding that the bill sought to set up a commission to offer assistance and look at what was best for the region.

“I rise to support this bill and I am very conscious of so many things. There are certain things that are peculiar to the South West for which this commission, when set up will take control,” Senator James Manager said.

Another lawmaker, Senator Ayo Akinyelure was confident that the bill would go a long way to resolve problems in the region and bring development closer to the people.

Senators Emmanuel Bwacha, Obinna Ogba, and Basiru Ajibola among others also declared their support for the bill.

But two lawmakers, Senators Adamu Bulkachuwa and Peter Nwaoboshi were against the bill, saying it would split up the country.

After a series of deliberation, Senate President Ahmad Lawan referred the bill to the Committee on Establishment and Public Service Matters.

He asked the committee to report back to the lawmakers within four weeks.