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Cleanup ongoing, voter register not compromised, says INEC

By Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja
16 September 2022   |   4:24 am
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has debunked claims that the nation’s voter register was comprised by external elements.

INEC

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has debunked claims that the nation’s voter register was comprised by external elements.

It said cleanup of registration data for the recently concluded Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise is ongoing. The commission was reacting to allegation by Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) that some forces have begun adulterating the voter register.

CUPP had also alleged that a court case was initiated to force INEC to stop use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in the 2023 elections.

CUPP spokesperson, Ikenga Ugochinyere, at a press conference in Abuja, presented a copy of the suit filed at the Owerri Federal High Court on August 24 and copies of voter register with questionable names.

But responding, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, (Information and Voter Education Committee), Festus Okoye, in a statement, said no new registrant has yet been added to the register of voters for the general elections.

He noted that the commission recognises and respects the right of citizens, either as individuals and groups, to demand explanation from public agencies, including INEC, and to hold them accountable.

He, however, urged Nigerians to exercise caution, so that such interventions do not unwittingly sow doubts in the public mind, thereby diminishing public confidence and trust in the electoral process.

Allaying fears of the public, Okoye said: “Nigerians would recall that on July 31, 2022, the commission suspended the CVR to commence supplemental activities that will culminate in the integration of new registrants into the final register of voters for the 2023 general election.

“It is important to reiterate that no new registrant has yet been added to the register of voters for the 2023 general election or will be included, until these supplemental activities have been completed, in line with the law.

“For the avoidance of doubt, we restate the main components of these activities. First, the commission is conducting a comprehensive Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) cleanup of the registration data by scrutinising every record.

“Based on the Electoral Act 2022, any record that does not meet all the criteria for inclusion, as stipulated in Section 10, including the appearance, in person, by the registrant at the registration venue with proof of identity, age and nationality and our business rules requirements of adequate number of fingerprints and clear pictures, will be invalidated.

“Further, in line with Section 19(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, after the ABIS and cleanup, the commission shall appoint a period of seven days during which the register will be published for scrutiny by the public for objections and complaints.”

Okoye added that it only after the cleanup and claims and objections have been completed that the final register will be published.

He noted that INEC would continue to provide the public with updates on the progress of these processes, as it did through its press release of September 12, 2022.