The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of its unwillingness to prioritise the distribution of permanent voter cards.
Intersociety, which made the accusation in a statement issued on Tuesday, alleged that the electoral umpire was deliberately creating hitches, including unavailability of PVCs/INEC staff and lateness of the concerned INEC staff.
Intersociety noted that it was to frustrate Nigerians who had been visiting PVCs collection centres without getting their PVCs.
In the statement signed by principal officers – Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chinwe Umeche Esq, and Chidinma Udegbunam Esq, the rights organisation, claimed that no fewer than 76million Nigerians of constitutional voting age excluding estimated 20m ineligible identities or illegal voters comprising underage children, illegal migrants, fake names and stolen identities/ PVCs had undemocratically been disenfranchised and excluded from voting and participating in the February 25, 2023 which it described as “a crucial Presidential Poll.”
According to the group, of the so-called “93.5m registered voters for 2023 general elections,” only 44 million genuine PVC holders exist, out of which 10 million had compromised their PVCs, VINs and sold their consciences to the devil.
The statement partly read, “INEC has further failed woefully to disclose how many of its claimed “newly printed 9.5m PVCs for newly registered 9.5m voters, 4m newly printed PVCs for transferred voters” and “pre- 2019 20m uncollected PVCs for those registered between 2011 and 2018” have been given or issued to their rightful owners.
“It was also found that INEC woefully failed in its constitutional and statutory duties by not properly disclosing or publishing the names and locations of the country’s 8,809 electoral wards which the Commission claimed to have designated as “PVC collection centres.”
“Found too, are general complaints of PVC collectors being frustrated or forced to back out of the collection exercise following sundry hitches deliberately and discriminatorily created by the Commission including unavailability of PVCs/INEC staffers and lateness of the concerned INEC staffers to work; reported, too, are difficulties in locating PVC collection centers and organised group violence or threat of same targeted at non-native PVC collectors (i.e. non-native areas of Lagos State).
“The INEC PVCs collection exercise is further characterised by reports of long queues in the South-East, South-South and major non-native parts of the South-West and FCT, etc involving nursing mothers, the old and pregnant women queuing under scorching sun and heat for half a day in addition to sundry extortion at collection centers especially in Anambra, Enugu and Imo states.”
Intersociety, however, stated that such discrimination and in fractions by INEC were a fundamental breach and impeachment of Section 12 of the 2022 Electoral Act of the Federation as amended.