THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has criticised political parties and their candidates for using abusive language during campaigns.
According to INEC, a list of these candidates and political parties is being compiled.
The National Commissioner for INEC and chairperson of its committee on Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, said in an interview with the Punch newspaper published today that the National Peace Committee and several civil society organisations were also keeping an eye on the violations, which he described as “alarming.”
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According to him, it is against Section 92 of the Electoral Act to use abusive words for campaigns.
“The commission is concerned and worried at the language being employed by some of the political parties, their candidates, officials and supporters in their campaigns.
“Section 92 (of the Electoral Act) provides that abusive, intemperate, slanderous or base language or insinuation or innuendoes designed or likely to provoke violent reaction or emotions shall not be employed or used in political campaigns. The law prescribes penalties for violation, including fines and terms of imprisonment.
“The commission is tracking the violations; the National Peace Committee is tracking the violations; civil society groups and organisations are tracking the violations,” Okoye said.
He said the commission would continue to evaluate the situation and take appropriate action in terms of prosecution upon investigation and arrest by the appropriate agencies and organs of government.
“We must on no account, either wittingly or unwittingly, allow personal attacks to degenerate and lead to a breakdown of law and order,” he added.
Okoye said the commission and the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, had met several times with political parties and their leaders over the issue.
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Political campaigns are expected to end on Thursday for the presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled for February 25.