The Senate yesterday commenced a fresh process to amend the 1999 Constitution as altered with a view to making the use of card readers compulsory for elections.

The bill is seeking to amend the Electoral Act by altering the period for accreditation and voting as well as providing for the compulsory use of card readers for accreditation.

The proposed legislation, sponsored by the Senate spokesperson, Senator Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru, seeks to make provision for separate periods for accreditation and voting, with a further provision that accreditation commences by 8 am and closes by 1 pm.

According to the bill, by the provisions of the proposed amendments, voting commences immediately after accreditation; which is without prejudice to the fact that all voters who are already in the queue by 1 pm shall be accredited.

In the proposed amendment to the Electoral Act, the accreditation process shall comprise of the verification of voters using the card reader and register of voters.

The bill also provides that where the votes cast at an election in any polling unit exceeds the number of accredited voters on the voters register and card reader in any polling unit, the result of the election in that polling unit shall be declared void and another election conducted where the result at that polling unit may affect the overall result in the constituency.

The bill also makes it compulsory for INEC to make available to a political party or candidates in any election, upon request, the details of the number of accredited voters for the election on both the card reader and voters register used for the election.

Meanwhile, at the House of Representatives, a Bill for an Act to establish Nigerian Maritime Security Trust Fund and other matters related thereto (2020), passed second reading.

Leading the debate on its general principles, the sponsor, Hon. Yusuf Adamu Gagdi, said the bill sought to provide for the establishment of a special fund for training and retraining of naval personnel for optimum productivity, as well as funding for equipment and machinery that will aid the seamless protection of our waterways by the Nigerian Navy, thereby guaranteeing robust economic development of the country.

Gagdi, who is Chairman of the House Committee on Navy, stated that since the mainstay of the Nigerian economy (oil) is majorly sourced and moved through the waterways, it was imperative that the Nigerian Navy is sufficiently equipped and routinely trained to curb the excesses of pirates, illegal oil bunkerers and other illegal activities on the nation’s waterways.