Section 2 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act defines an offence as an act or omission which renders the person doing the act or making the omission liable to punishment under the code or any act or law. Electoral offence is any conduct – action or inaction which is prohibited by the Constitution or the Electoral Act and a breach of which attracts punishment. The Electoral Act 2022 was signed into Law by President Muhammadu Buhari on 25th February, 2022. Breaches or violations of some of these provisions attract certain penalties, which on conviction may be a fine, a term of imprisonment, or both. The following are the electoral offences as provided in the Electoral Act 2022:

Offences in relation to registration: Section 114

A person who —

(a) without authority, destroys, mutilates, defaces or remove or makes any alteration in any notice or document required for the purpose of registration under this Act;

(b) presents his or herself to be or does any act whereby he or she is by whatever name or description howsoever, included in the register of voters for a constituency in which he or she is not entitled to be registered or causes his or herself to be registered in more than one registration or revision centre;

(c) publishes any statement or report which he or she knows to be false or does not believe to be true so as to prevent persons who are qualified to register from registering as voters;

(d) makes in any record, register or document which he or she is required to prepare, publish or keep for the purpose of registration, any entry or statement which he or she knows to be false or does not believe to be true;

(e) impedes or obstructs a registration officer or a revision officer in the performance of his or her duties;

(f) without proper authority, wears the identification of a registration officer or assistant registration officer or wears any other identification purporting to be the identification of a registration officer or assistant registration officer;

(g)  forges a registration card; or

(h) carries out registration or revision of voters at a centre or place not designated by the Commission, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of ₦1,000,000 or to imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both.


Offences in respect of nomination: Section 115

(1) A person who —

(a) forges any nomination paper or result form,

(b) willfully defaces or destroys any nomination paper or result form,

(c) delivers to an electoral officer any nomination paper or result form knowing it to be forged,

(d) signs a nomination paper or result form as a candidate in more than one constituency at the same election,

(e) forges any ballot paper or official mark on any ballot paper or any certificate of return or result form,

(f) willfully destroys any ballot paper or official mark on any ballot paper or any certificate of return or result form,

(g) without authority gives a ballot paper or result form to any person,

(h) willfully places in any ballot box any unauthorised paper or result form,

(i) willfully removes from a polling station any ballot paper or result form whether or not the ballot paper or result form was issued to him or her in that polling station;

(j) without authority destroys or in any other manner interferes with a ballot box or its contents or any ballot paper or result form then in use or likely to be used for the purpose of an election,

(k) signs a nomination paper consenting to be a candidate at an election knowing that he or she is ineligible to be a candidate at that election,

commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum term of imprisonment for two years.

(2) A person who —

(a) without proper authority prints a ballot paper or what purports to be or is capable of being used as a ballot paper or result form at an election,

(b) being authorised by the Commission to print ballot papers or result form, prints more than the number or quantity the Commission authorised,

(c) without authority, is found in possession of a ballot paper or result form when he or she is not in the process of voting and at a time when the election for which the ballot paper or result form is intended, is not yet completed,

(d) manufactures, constructs, imports into Nigeria, has in his or her possession, supplies to any election official or uses for the purpose of an election, or causes to be manufactured, constructed or imported into Nigeria, supplies to any election official for use for the purpose of any election, any ballot box including any compartment, appliance, voting device or mechanism or by which a ballot paper or result form may or could be secretly placed or stored in, or having been deposited during polling may be secretly diverted, misplaced or manipulated,

commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of ₦50,000,000 or imprisonment for a term not less than 10 years or both.

(3) An attempt to commit any offence under this section shall be punishable in the same manner as the offence itself.


Disorderly behavior at political meetings: Section 116

Any person who, at a political meeting —

(a) acts or incites another to act in a disorderly manner for the purpose of preventing the transaction of the business for which the meeting was convened, or

(b) has in his possession an offensive weapon or missiles,

commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of ₦500,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both.


Improper use of voters cards: Section 117

Any person who —

(a) being entitled to a voters card, gives it to some other person for use at an election other than an officer appointed and acting in the course of his or her duty under this Act,

(b) not being an officer acting in the course of his or her duty under this Act, receives any voters card in the name of some other person or persons for use at an election uses it fraudulently,

(c)  without lawful excuse has in his possession more than one voters card, or

(d) buys, sells, procures or deals, with a voters card otherwise than as provided in this Act,

commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of ₦1,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both.


Improper use of vehicles: Section 118

(1) No person shall provide for the purpose of conveying any other person to a registration office or to a polling unit any government vehicle or boat, or any vehicle or boat belonging to a public corporation except in respect of a person who is ordinarily entitled to use such vehicle or boat and in emergency in respect of an electoral officer.

(2) Any person who contravenes the provisions of this section, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of ₦500,000 or imprisonment for a term of six months or both.


Impersonation and voting when not qualified: Section 119

(1) Any person who —

(a) applies to be included in any list of voters in the name of some other person, whether such name is that of a person living or dead or of a fictitious person,

(b) having once to his or her knowledge been improperly included in a list of voters under this Act as a voter entitled to vote at any election, applies, except as authorised by this Act, to be included in any other list of voters prepared for any constituency as a voter at an election,

(c) applies for a ballot paper in the name of some other person, whether such name is that of a person living or dead or of a fictitious person;

(d) having voted once at an election applies at the same election for another ballot paper,

(e) votes or attempts to vote at an election knowing that he or she is not qualified to vote at the election, or

(f) induces or procures any other person to vote at an election knowing that such other person is not qualified to vote at the election,

commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of ₦500,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both.

(2) Any person who commits the offence of impersonation or who aids, abets, counsels or procures the commission of that offence, is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of ₦500,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both.


Dereliction of duty: Section 120

(1) Any officer appointed for the purposes of this Act, who without lawful excuse commits any act or omits to act in breach of his or her official duty commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of ₦500,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both.

(2) Any polling official who fails to report promptly at his or her polling unit on an election day without lawful excuse commits an offence of dereliction of duty and is liable on conviction to maximum fine of ₦500,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both.

(3) Any polling agent, political party or party agent who conspires to make false declaration of result of an election commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of ₦500,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both.

(4) Any person who announces or publishes an election result knowing same to be false or which is at variance with the signed certificate of return commits and offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of 36 months.

(5) Any returning officer or collation officer who delivers or causes to be delivered a false certificate of return knowing same to be false, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a maximum term of three years without an option of fine.

(6) Any person who delivers or causes to be delivered a false certificate of return knowing same to be false to any news media commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of three years.


Bribery and conspiracy: Section 121

(1) Any person who does any of the following —

(a) directly or indirectly, by his or herself or by any other person on his or her behalf, corruptly makes any gift, loan, offer, promise, procurement or agreement to or for any person, in order to induce such person to procure or to endeavour to procure the return of any person as a member of a legislative house or to an elective office or the vote of any voter at any election;

(b) upon or in consequence of any gift, loan, offer, promise, procurement or agreement corruptly procures, or engages or promises or endeavours to procure, the return of any person as a member of a legislative house or to an elective office or the vote of any voter at any election;

(c) advances or pays or causes to be paid any money to or for the use of any other person, with the intent that such money or any part thereof shall be expended in bribery at any election, or who knowingly pays or causes to be paid any money to any person in discharge or repayment of any money wholly or in part expended in bribery at any election;

(d) after any election directly, or indirectly, by his or herself, or by any other person on his or her behalf receives any money or valuable consideration on account of any person having voted or refrained from voting, or having induced any other person to vote or refrain from voting or having induced any candidate to refrain from canvassing for votes for his or herself at any such election,

commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of ₦500,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both.

(2) A voter commits an offence of bribery where before or during an election directly or indirectly by his or herself or by any other person on his or her behalf, receives, agrees or contracts for any money, gift, loan, or valuable consideration, office, place or employment, for his or herself, or for any other person, for voting or agreeing to vote or for refraining or agreeing to refrain from voting at any such election.

(3) Nothing in this section shall extend or apply to money paid or agreed to be paid for or on account of any lawful expenses bona fide incurred at or concerning any election.

(4) Any person who commits the offence of bribery is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of ₦500,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both.

(5) Any person who conspires, aids or abets any other person to commit any of the offences under this Part of this Act commits the same offence and is liable to the same punishment.

(6) For the purpose of this Act, a candidate shall be deemed to have committed an offence if it was committed with his or her knowledge and consent.


Requirement of secrecy in voting: Section 122

(1) Every person in attendance at a polling unit including every officer charged with the conduct of an election and his or her assistants and every polling agent and candidate in attendance at a polling station or at the collation centre, as the case may be, shall maintain and aid in maintaining the secrecy of the voting.

(2) No person in attendance at a polling booth under this section shall, except for some purpose authorised by law, communicate to any person information as to the name or number on the register of any voter who has or has not voted at the place of voting.

(3) No person shall —

(a) interfere with a voter casting his or her vote, or by any other means obtain or attempt to obtain in a polling unit, information as to the candidate for whom a voter in that place is about to vote for or has voted for; or

(b) communicate at any time to any other person information obtained in a polling unit as to the candidate to whom a voter is about to vote or has voted for.

(4) Any person acting contrary to the provisions of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of ₦100,000 or imprisonment for a term of three months or both.


Wrongful voting and false statements: Section 123

Any person who —

(a) votes at an election or induces or procures any person to vote at an election, knowing that he or she or such person is prohibited from voting at the election;

(b) before or during an election, publishes any statement of the withdrawal of a candidate at such election knowing it to be false or reckless as to its truth or falsity; or

(c) before or during an election publishes any statement as to the personal character or conduct of a candidate calculated to prejudice the chance of election of the candidate or to promote or procure the election of another candidate and such statement is false and was published without reasonable grounds for belief by the person publishing it that the statement is true,

 commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of ₦100,000 or imprisonment for a term of six months or both.


Voting by unregistered person: Section 124

(1) Any person who knowingly votes or attempts to vote in a constituency in respect of which his or her name is not on the register of voters commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of ₦100,000 or imprisonment for a term of six months or both.

(2) Any person who knowingly brings into a polling unit during an election a voter’s card issued to another person commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of ₦100,000 or imprisonment for a term of six months or both.


Disorderly conduct at elections: Section 125

Any person who at an election acts or incites others to act in a disorderly manner commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of ₦500,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both.


Offences on election day: Section 126

(1) No person shall do any of the following acts or things in a polling unit or within a distance of 300 metres of a polling unit on the date on which an election is held —

(a) canvass for votes;

(b) solicit for the vote of any voter;

(c) persuade any voter not to vote for any particular candidate;

(d) persuade any voter not to vote at the election;

(e) shout slogans concerning the election;

(f) be in possession of any offensive weapon or wear any dress or have any facial or other decoration which in any event is calculated to intimidate voters;

(g) exhibit, wear or tender any notice, symbol, photograph or party card referring to the election;

(h) use any vehicle bearing the colour or symbol of a political party by any means whatsoever;

(i) loiter without lawful excuse after voting or after being refused to vote;

(j)  snatch or destroy any election materials; and

(k) blare siren.

(2) No person shall within the vicinity of a polling unit or collation centre on the day of which an election is held —

(a) convene, hold or attend any public meeting during the hours of poll as may be prescribed by the Commission;

(b) unless appointed under this Act to make official announcements, operate any megaphone, amplifier or public address apparatus; or

(c) wear or carry any badge, poster, banner, flag or symbol relating to a political party or to the election.

(3) A person who contravenes any of the provisions of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of ₦100,000 or imprisonment for a term of six months for every such offence.

(4) Any person who snatches or destroys any election material or any election device, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of 24 months.


Undue influence: Section 127

A person who —

(a) corruptly by his or herself or by any other person at any time after the date of an election has been announced, directly or indirectly gives or provides or pays money to or for any person for the purpose of corruptly influencing that person or any other person to vote or refrain from voting at such election, or on account of such person or any other person having voted or refrained from voting at such election; or

(b) being a voter, corruptly accepts or takes money or any other inducement during any of the period stated in paragraph (a), commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of ₦100,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both.


Threatening: Section 128

A person who —

(a) directly or indirectly, by his or herself or by another person on his or her behalf, makes use of or threatens to make use of any force, violence or restrain;

(b) inflicts or threatens to inflict by his or herself or by any other person, any minor or serious injury, damage, harm or loss on or against a person in order to induce or compel that person to vote or refrain from voting, or on account of such person having voted or refrained from voting;

(c) by abduction, duress, or a fraudulent device or contrivance, impedes or prevents the free use of the vote by a voter or thereby compels, induces, or prevails on a voter to give or refrain from giving his vote; or

(d) prevents any political aspirant from free use of the media, designated vehicles, mobilisation of political support and campaign at an election,

 commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of ₦1,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of three years.


Offences relating to recall: Section 129

The offences referred to in this Act shall apply to recall of a member of a Legislative House and a member of an Area Council mutatis mutandis.


Download the Nigerian Electoral Act 2022 App below

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