The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has commenced investigations into videos trending online of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) allegedly buried underground in some locations, including the compound of a high-profile person.
The Commission said it is not taking these allegations lightly and have therefore commenced immediate investigation vowing that anyone found culpable in this diabolical scheme clearly intended to disenfranchise Nigerians will be sanctioned under the law.
INEC insists that every eligible Nigerian who registered as a voter is entitled to his/her PVC, and the constitutional right to vote in any election must never be suppressed or abridged in any way.
Festus Okoye Esq. National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, in a statement said, “As far as the record of the Commission is concerned, PVCs have been printed for all valid registrants in Nigeria up to 14th January 2022 and delivered to all the States of the Federation for collection by voters. We will not allow retrogressive elements to sabotage our efforts.”
Continuing, Okoyes said, “The issues of voter registration, compilation of the voters’ roll and issuance of PVCs are at the heart of any democratic elections and the Commission is working hard to ensure that every eligible citizen who appears in person at the registration venue is registered. We assure Nigerians that this matter will be pursued to its logical conclusion.”
He said already, the Commission is reviewing the procedure for collecting PVCs to make it less cumbersome and more transparent. This will be a major topic at the next regular quarterly meeting with stakeholders so that working together we can find a lasting solution to the issue.
The Commission also appealed to those who found the allegedly buried PVCs to deliver them to its nearest State or Local Government office as that will be their patriotic contribution to the consolidation of our electoral process.
In another development, the INEC Administrative Secretary in Enugu State, Mr. Jude Okwuonu, has reported that at about 2.30pm on Wednesday 13th July 2022 the Commission’s officials involved in the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise were attacked by unknown gunmen in Community Primary School Umuopu in Umuozzi Ward 19 of Igboeze North Local Government Area.
The gunmen fired sporadically into the air to disperse registrants and registration officials. In the ensuing stampede, one of our staff sustained injuries and is receiving treatment in a hospital.
However, two voter registration machines and personal items of the staff such as mobile phones were lost.
Consequently, Ward level registration of voters in Igboeze North has been suspended.
It will be recalled that on 3rd July 2022, our office in Igboeze North Local Government Area was burnt down by unknown arsonists. In spite of the attack, the Commission was able to continue with Ward level registration with the assistance of vigilantes provided by the Local Government authority. It is one of the centres that has now been attacked.
The incident has been reported to the Police for investigation, said Festus Okoye Esq.
National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee