The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has condemned in strong terms any unwholesome attempt to disenfranchise Nigerians who have already registered to vote in the 2023 general elections.
This is coming on the heels of trending videos on social media where heaps of Permanent Voters’ Cards are claimed to have been dug out from where they had been buried.
Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee said in a statement released Thursday evening that “The attention of the Commission has been drawn to videos trending online of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) allegedly buried underground in some locations, including the compound of a high-profile person.”
According to Okoye, “The Commission is not taking these allegations lightly. We have commenced an immediate investigation and anyone found culpable in this diabolical scheme clearly intended to disenfranchise Nigerians will be sanctioned under the law. Every eligible Nigerian who registered as a voter is entitled to his/her PVC. The constitutional right to vote in any election must never be suppressed or abridged in any way.”
He continued: “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.
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.
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.
Meanwhile, we appeal to those who found the allegedly buried PVCs to deliver them to our nearest State or Local Government office. This will be their patriotic contribution to the consolidation of our electoral process.”
WATCH ONE OF THE VIDEOS HERE…