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SERAP demands election data safety measures from INEC

By Silver Nwokoro (Lagos), Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze (Abuja) and Osiberoha Osibe (Awka)
28 March 2022   |   3:45 am
SOCIO-ECONOMIC Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to publicise safeguards and mechanisms in place to protect...

[FILES] INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu. Photo; FACBOOK/INECNIGERIA

•Accord Party holds presidential primary June 2

SOCIO-ECONOMIC Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to publicise safeguards and mechanisms in place to protect the privacy and security of election information and data in its custody.

It also urged him to clarify the locations where data are stored besides Abuja, and the details of any third party, as well as contingency plans for safety of the figures.

In a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, signed by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, at the weekend, the group stated that ensuring adequate safeguards and mechanisms for privacy and security of election statistics would improve ability of the electoral umpire to effectively discharge its constitutional and statutory duties.

SERAP said: “This would also help to remove risks of attack and unlawful interference by any unauthorised person with election information and data.”

According to the organisation, publishing safeguards and mechanisms for election information and data would also contribute to improving the sanctity and integrity of the electoral process, public trust and confidence in the process.

It went on: “Putting in place adequate technological security measures to prevent unauthorised access to election information and data would improve the credibility of the electoral process and the enjoyment of people’s right to participate in their own government.

“As an institution, which collects, controls and uses election-related information and data in the discharge of its constitutional and statutory duties, INEC has a legal responsibility to ensure adequate protection of such information and data from threats and vulnerabilities to attack or interference.

“Any interference by unauthorised third-party in election information and data may be used for corrupt, political and other unlawful purposes, and would expose election systems to fraud and meddling, as well as undermine the right to participation and the country’s democratic system.”

SERAP added that the right of people to participate in their government is a fundamental feature of any democratic society, and any infringement of privacy and security of election information and data would strike at the heart of representative government.

The organisation noted that voter registration and voting systems “are the most vulnerable and susceptible to manipulation by corrupt politicians and other actors.”

CONSEQUENT upon the 2023 general elections timetable, the Accord Party (AP) has fixed its presidential primary for June 2.
Its House of Representatives and Senate primaries hold May 21 and 28, while the governorship and State House of Assembly primaries take place on May 30.

A statement, yesterday, by National Secretary of the Caretaker Committee, Dr. Adebukola Ajaja, put the cost of Expression of Interest (EOI) and nomination fees for the office of the President at N2 million and N18 million.

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