No INEC staff will register an underage person – Oyekanmi
Rotimi Lawrence Oyekanmi, Chief Press Secretary to Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission responded to queries regarding pictures of under-age registrants in the social media, as well as what the commission is doing to ensure that all eligible voters are registered.
“The Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise commenced on April 27, 2017 at all the Local Government headquarters in the country. After a while, due to demands, more registration areas were created nationwide. Budgetary constraints had made it impossible for INEC to carry out the exercise at the ward level. However, in states where governorship elections were held, more registration points were created for a period of time to enable more people register.
All Nigerians who have attained 18 years and above and who had never registered are qualified to register.
“However, while it is true that a form of identification is not compulsory at the registration point, the official in charge may demand for one if he or she has doubts about the age or the registrant.
“The recent pictures/video clips of under-age individuals holding what looks like voter cards being circulated online are not related to the present CVR exercise. If you check all of them, they do not reveal any specific location where it had happened. I have asked those who shared a number of clips with me for specific information about where the purported under-age registration took place, but nobody seems to know. That, in itself is curious. But upon preliminary investigation, I discovered that if you click on the pictures using the Google tools, you would discover that many of them were taken/uploaded several years ago. Unfortunately, the unrestricted nature of the social media has now given room to some mischief-makers to create the false impression that under-age registration is going on even now.
“To be sure, no INEC staff will register an underage person in any part of the country. INEC staff and not ad-hoc staff, except for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members currently serving with the Commission, who may be deployed to render assistance, also man all registration points.
“Let me also state unequivocally that it is not and can never be true that traditional rulers “are colluding” to undermine the law. On the contrary, traditional rulers have been cooperating with the Commission by encouraging their subjects to take advantage of the CVR. While we are aware that there is some difficulty in some areas as result of the upsurge in the number of Nigerians turning up to be registered, the Commission is putting additional measures in place to address the challenges. For instance, new equipment have been deployed in the Federal Capital Territory and more number of people are not able to register per day. The supply of more equipment to Lagos is also underway to address shortcomings in some areas.”
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