Worried about the lethargic pace of the collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) nationwide, Nigeria’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has extended the deadline to January 29, 2023.
INEC had shifted the timeframe by eight days from its earlier deadline of January 22, 2023.
This is even as INEC is reportedly investigating allegations of extortion by officials at some of the collection centres and inducement by some unscrupulous voters to circumvent processes in order to obtain their PVCs.
In a statement in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Thursday, the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, said that the decision was taken at the commission’s meeting on Thursday, to give registered voters ample opportunity to collect their PVCs before the forthcoming elections.
In his words: “For this reason, the timeframe for collection of PVCs is extended by eight days. Instead of ending on Sunday January 22, the collection of PVCs will continue until Sunday, January 29.
“At the moment, the period of collection is 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM daily (including Saturdays and Sundays).”
Consequently, according to him, collection at Registration Area (Ward) level is extended by one week from January 16 to 22.
He explained that collection at Local Government level will resume on January 23 to January 29.
Okoye revealed that INEC was investigating allegations of extortion by officials at some of the collection centres and inducement by some unscrupulous voters to circumvent processes in order to obtain their PVCs.
According to him, those found culpable would face disciplinary action and/or prosecution.
“Similarly, the commission is disturbed by allegations of discriminatory issuance of PVCs in some locations. This is against the law.
“All bonafide registrants are entitled to their PVCs and to use them to vote on Election Day in any part of the country where they are registered,” Okoye stated.
The INEC spokesperson said that Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) had been directed to ensure that no such practices occurred nationwide and take immediate disciplinary action against violators.
“For the record, the commission has printed 13,868,441 PVCs for all new valid registrants as well as applicants for transfer or replacement of cards.
“Nevertheless, issuing officers should compile any complaints about non-availability of cards and forward them to their immediate supervisors for the attention of Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC) who shall compile and forward them for necessary action,” Okoye stated.
INEC, according to him, was encouraged by the turnout of registered voters and the surge in the number of collected PVCs across the country, particularly in some of the states, as many as 100,000 PVCs were collected in the last five days since the devolution to Ward level started on January 6.
He expressed INEC’s appreciation of the patience and perseverance of citizens in the commission’s continuing efforts to finetune its process to make for ease of collection.
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