Nobody must carry weapons during political campaigns except Nigerian police – INEC warns

Nigeria’s electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has issued a warning to Nigerians ahead of the 2023 elections.

The INEC approved the publication and release of guidelines for the conduct of political rallies, processions, and campaigns as well as finances and election expenses of political parties, candidates, and aspirants.

INEC in the new guidelines said no political party member or supporter must bear arms during campaigns except the Nigerian police.

Accordingly, it urged political parties to make registered voters the targets of their campaigns.

INEC advised the parties to make their programmes, policies, and projects available to voters.

The guidelines read in part, “The target audience of political campaigns shall be registered voters.

“No person attending a political campaign shall be in possession of any offensive weapon, except a Police Officer or a member of a security agency authorised to carry arms and is specifically posted to be present at that political campaign.”

The electoral umpire also maintained the ceiling of N50 million as the maximum amount of money or other assets that an individual, a group of individuals, or an entity can donate to a political party or aspirant for an election.

The document added, “A political party shall not accept any monetary or other contribution which is more than N50,000,000 except it identifies and discloses the source of the contribution to the Commission.

“Where there is conflict in the date, venue or timing of the activities of different political parties, their representatives shall meet in the presence of the Commission and the Nigeria Police to resolve the issues amicably.

“Where the parties are unable to resolve the conflict amicably between themselves, the Commission shall request the political party that submitted its notice and police approval or where the presence of the representative of the police is not feasible at the time, prove of written approval of the Commissioner of Police that is earliest in time shall be a guide to resolve the conflict and later in time to reschedule its campaign.”

Recall that INEC had fixed “the maximum election expenses to be incurred by a candidate at a presidential election shall not exceed N5,000,000,000.

“The maximum amount of election expenses to be incurred by a candidate in respect of governorship election shall not exceed N1,000,000,000” while Section 88 (8) provides that “No individual or other entity shall donate to a candidate more than N50,000,000.”

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