The Independent National Electoral Commission says it is investigating reporters and videos trending online about Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) allegedly buried underground in some locations, including the compound of a high-profile person.
“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,” said INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, in a statement on Thursday.
“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.”
Okoye appealed to those who found the allegedly buried PVCs to deliver them to the commission’s nearest state or local government office.
“This will be their patriotic contribution to the consolidation of our electoral process,” Mr Okoye said.
He also made a promise that the commission would counter attempts to sabotage the process of getting PVCs to registered voters.
“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,” he said.
The commissioner promised Nigerians that the matter would be pursued to its logical conclusion, stressing that “the issues of voter registration, a 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”.
Concerning the reports, Mr. Okoye said the commission had already started 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,” he said.