INEC Denies Disenfranchising 7 million Nigerians

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has denied playing any adverse roles in the failure of about seven million potential voters to complete their registration to vote in next year’s election.

Recall that several Nigerians recently approached the court over an alleged role by INEC in their inability to complete the voter registration exercise before the deadline date set by the commission.

However, the electoral body in a statement issued Monday and signed by Barrister Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, maintained that accusation was unfounded.

The statement reads :

“The attention of the Commission has been drawn to media reports that some seven million Nigerians who applied for online pre-registration as voters during the last nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) were denied the opportunity to complete their registration and consequently the collection of their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs). This claim is misleading.

“To set the record straight, Nigerians may recall that on 28th June 2021, the Commission introduced the online pre-registration of voters. By doing so, citizens were allowed to commence the registration online and then book an appointment at their convenience to complete the physical Biometric Capture at designated centres. It was a novel idea leveraging technology to ease the registration process. This was in addition to the walk-in option at physical centres, where Nigerians can commence and complete their registration simultaneously without going through the online pre-registration procedure.
In the interest of transparency, the Commission provided weekly statistical updates on the exercise.

“For the online pre-registration, a total of 1 of 0,487,972 commenced the process. However, by the deadline of the exercise, 3,444,378 Nigerians completed their pre-registration physically at the designated centres in line with the Commission’s policy. Some 7,043,594 applicants did not complete the registration. Again, the Commission made the information public. This is what some people are now using to say that they were denied the opportunity when in reality they failed to either complete the online enrolment or appear physically at the designated centres to complete the process.

“A breakdown of the 7,043,594 incomplete online pre-registrations is as follows:

1. 4,161,775 citizens attempted but either did not complete online pre-registration or abandoned it and went for physical registration instead.

2. 2,881,819 registrants completed the online pre-registration but did not show up to complete the physical Biometric Capture at designated centres before the deadline.

“Therefore, it is clear that no Nigerians were deliberately denied the opportunity to complete their online pre-registration.
We appeal to citizens to always adhere to timelines as against the endless agitation for eleventh-hour extension of set deadlines”.

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