INEC bans campaigns in churches, mosques

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has issued instructions for the conduct of political activities ahead of the 2023 general elections, which are only three months away.

In its six-page paper titled “Conduct of Political Rallies, Processions, and Campaigns [PDF],” the committee banned campaigning and political rallies in houses of worship and the use of abusive language and hate speech.

It further said that no one participating in a political rally, procession, or campaign should be in possession of any offensive weapon.

According to INEC, only law enforcement and security personnel assigned to patrol the area during political events can carry firearms.

Religious institutions, police stations, and government buildings are off-limits to political rallies.

In no way may vulgar language or hate speech be used during a political campaign.

It said that “neither the state apparatus nor the media shall be used to aid or hinder any political party or candidate at any election.”

According to INEC, political rallies aim to promote the party’s emblem, banner, slogan, and platform.

The commission required political parties to submit a notification of their campaign schedule no later than ten days before the start of their campaigns, detailing the date, time, venue, agenda, and list of members of the organising committee, as well as obtaining police approval within the jurisdiction of the campaigns.

It went on to say that parties and candidates should run campaigns in accordance with the constitution and their manifestos, as well as in accordance with the commission’s Regulations and Guidelines for Political Parties 2022, party codes of conduct, any regulations and guidelines that the National Broadcasting Commission may issue, COVID-19 safety protocols, and any other public health regulations and measures.

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