INEC Threatens to Prosecute Voters Involved in Double Registration
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday threatened legal prosecution against anyone caught registering more than once in the ongoing registration of voters.
INEC clearly stated that double registration is an electoral offence, noting clearly that those with online registration slip should not consider such as voter cards as it is expected to elapse after 14 days of issuance.
The commission further said ignorance of the law would not be accepted as a defence for double registration
The threat of legal prosecution was handed down yesterday in Kano by the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of Voter Education, Festus Okoye, during a sensitisation workshop for Heads of Department of Voters Education and Public Affairs
According to Okoye, “Those that will plead ethnic, religious or political persecution when the commission begins the prosecution of double registrants should plead with those that have attempted or attempting double registration to desist from it as it amounts to electoral offence.
“The commission will not listen to pleas of ignorance of the law or ethnic or religious bias when proceeding against those that violate the spirit of the current effort.”
Okoye reiterated the fact that it is not compiling a new register of voters, as the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise is to afford those that have attained the age of 18 years and those that have not registered before the opportunity to register.
He also said it was also meant for those who want to transfer their registration from one state to another or from one local government area to another as well as meant for those that had one challenge or another with their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) during accreditation and for those that want to correct genuine mistakes and errors in their registration data.
The commissioner explained that the implication of double registration is that those that are already registered and presented themselves for fresh registration are trying to corrupt the electoral process and may be candidates for prosecution.
The INEC national commissioner stated that the expectation of the workshop is to improve their knowledge on the processes and procedures of the commission in the onerous task of interfacing with the public and enlightening them on the innovations introduced by the commission towards strengthening the electoral process.
Reiterating the justification of the continuous voters register, he said the capacity of the INEC to compile a credible voters’ list is at the heart of the democratic process, as eligible citizens cannot vote unless their names are captured on the roll of voters.
In Nigeria, he said, INEC has the exclusive right and prerogative to register voters, and it does not share this right with any individual or organisation.
Meanwhile, INEC said it the number of fresh registrants since the launch of the online registration portal on June 28, 2021, has now exceeded two million.
In an update on the voter registration notice signed by Okoye, the commission said as at 7a.m. yesterday, the number of new registrants was 2,215,832.
Similarly, he said four weeks ago, the commission commenced the in-person or physical registration as well as the completion of online pre-registration in the states and local government area offices nationwide.
Also, Okoye stated that the number of completed registration now stands at 430,363.
The INEC commissioner stated that detailed distribution of the online and completed registration by states/FCT, age, gender, occupation and disability has been uploaded on the commission’s website and social media platforms for public information.
The commission appealed to all eligible citizens who have not registered before to seize the opportunity to do so.
For emphasis, Okoye explained the commission noted that those who have already registered as voters need not register again.
However, he said those who wish to transfer to another place where they wish to vote in future elections or who have issues with their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) may apply online or in-person for resolution.