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NEC expects to receive all BVAS by December.

NEC expects to receive all BVAS by December.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has once again stated its intention to hold credible elections next year.

The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye, who spoke on behalf of the Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, assured the media yesterday that INEC will deliver all Bi-Modal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) before the end of December.

In light of the ongoing attacks on INEC facilities around the country, Okoye assuaged Nigerians’ concerns by emphasizing that the machines will be securely guarded. While the BVAS machines are still in INEC’s possession, the Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs) will be maintained at the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Okoye also took the time to address some lingering concerns about INEC’s efforts to hold a free and credible election in the coming year, such as the recently exposed cases of multiple and under-aged registration, burnt PVCs, and the contentious alleged demotion and transfer of ICT staff from the Commission’s Headquarters.

According to Okoye, the Commission has recently attempted to scrub its register of underage and numerous registrations, particularly with the assistance of technology. He did, however, mention that one of the objectives for displaying the voters’ register was to solicit public opinion on areas that needed to be corrected.

He confessed that, while both underage persons and the issue of duplicate registrations have been recognized, such crimes are frequently committed in collaboration with community leaders and some bad apples within the Commission.

He stated that staff workers accused of malicious registrations are facing disciplinary action and will be turned over to the police if proven guilty.

On the issue of buried PVCs and whether the Commission has apprehended those responsible, as well as whether the already damaged PVCs will be reprinted in order not to disenfranchise the owners, Okoye stated that the Commission has completed its investigation and will address the public on the way forward.

Okoye also clarified the transfer of the former Director of ICT, Engr. Chidi Nwafor, to a state, which many thoughts were a plan to tamper with INEC data, noting that such a transfer was a standard exercise in the Commission and had no malicious motive.

Okoye stated that the Commission would continue to be open and transparent in the management and running of the elections as the preliminary Voters Register was displayed.

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Okoye stated that the Commission has developed, approved, and accepted the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for PVC collection.

Meanwhile, the Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Associate Prof. Ahmed Audi, has stated that despite challenges and failures in previous general elections, the 2023 elections will be successful due to strengthened collaboration among Nigeria’s law enforcement agencies and increased voter enlightenment.

Audi made the statement while hosting a Transparency International (TI) delegation led by its Country Director, Anwal Rafsanjani, at the Corps’ headquarters in Abuja.

The CG emphasized that the continuous collaboration among sister law enforcement authorities in Nigeria would help to protect, defend, and sustain Nigeria’s democracy, despite what naysayers claim, according to a communiqué signed by the agency’s Public Relations Officer, Olusola Odumosu.

Audi guaranteed that polls will be held in all sections of the country and that citizens will be given full protection during the voting time since the elections will be free of rancor.

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