By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
As part of effort to ensure that registered voters are not disenfranchised in the forthcoming elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has extended the collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) scheduled to end today to Monday.
The electoral body has also revealed that the collection of PVCs would now take place from 9am to 6pm daily, including Saturday and Sunday.
The chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this Friday at the regular meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) held at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
The meeting, he said, was convened essentially in order to have a final review of preparations.
Yakubu noted, “At this meeting, we will undertake a comprehensive review of our preparations. Overall, the Commission is ready for the elections. Nevertheless, we are ever ready to fine-tune processes and procedures in order to serve Nigerians better.
“ In the last couple of days, we have been inundated by calls from Nigerians to review the current process of collection of Permanent Voters’ Cards. In response, the Commission has taken the following decisions:
“The collection of PVCs scheduled to end today Friday, 8th February 2019 is hereby extended nationwide to Monday, 11th February 2019. This will include Saturday and Sunday.
“All State offices are hereby directed to review the procedure for the collection of PVCs and dedicate all the staff of the Local Government offices to the collection process. Staff are enjoined to be civil in attending to citizens and to escalate issues that they cannot immediately resolve to their superiors.”
The Commission however reassured Nigerians that it would continue to take every necessary step to ensure that no registered voter is disenfranchised on account of non-collection of PVCs.
Yakubu stressed that the Commission was also taking urgent steps to address complaints of unavailability of the PVCs of some registered voters before the end the deadline for the collection.
He said, “We wish to reiterate that after the deadline of Monday, 11th February 2019, all uncollected PVCs will be recalled and deposited with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for safe-keeping until after the general election when the collection of cards and the continuous registration of voters will resume.
“Yesterday (Thursday) we had a crucial meeting with the security agencies and the national union representing the road transport workers. Issues of securing the environment for peaceful elections were discussed. Similarly, the issue of logistics, particularly transportation for the delivery of personnel and materials, was discussed.”