INEC Mulls Procedure for PVC Collection, Ends Voters’ Register Display

*Commission’s office in Ebonyi council set ablaze

Chuks Okocha in Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday, said it would adopt a standard operating procedure (SOP) to make the collection of PVCs as seamless as possible for the 2023 general election.

This is as INEC’s area office in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, was yesterday, burnt down by some unknown persons.  
National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voters Education Committee, Festus Okoye, disclosed this in a statement yesterday, however, just as the display of voters’ register has also ended.

Okoye disclosed that the SOP would be worked on  between 28 November and December 2, at the 2022 Lagos Retreat of INEC, involving all Residents Electoral Commissioners of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The statement read: “The Commission met today, Saturday 26th November 2022, and deliberated on a number of issues, among them the date and procedure for the collection of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) and the prosecution of persons arrested for illegal possession of PVCs.
“Following the end of the statutory period for the display of the register of voters for claims and objections, the Commission is determined to make the collection of PVCs as seamless as possible. A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has been developed.

“This will be among the issues to be discussed and finalised at a retreat holding in Lagos from 28th November to 2nd December 2022, involving all the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) from the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“At the end of the retreat, the Commission will release the dates as well as the detailed procedure for the immediate collection of PVCs nationwide.
“The Commission appreciates the patience and understanding of Nigerians, especially, those who registered as voters or applied for transfer/replacement of their cards from January to July 2022. In making the cards available for collection, the Commission is also working to ensure that the process is hitch-free.

“In the last couple of weeks, the Nigeria Police has arrested some individuals found to be in illegal possession of voters’ cards in some states of the federation. In one case, the Police have concluded investigation and handed over the case file to the Commission, resulting in the successful prosecution of one Nasiru Idris at a Magistrate Court in Sokoto, who was found to be in possession 101 PVCs in contravention of Sections 117 and 145 of the Electoral Act 2002. He has been sentenced to a year in prison.

“Similarly, the Police in Kano State have arrested a man, who was found to be in possession of 367 PVCs. The suspect has been charged to court and the Commission is pursuing his prosecution. The Commission wishes to reiterate that it will continue to pursue all violators of the Electoral Act and ensure their diligent prosecution,” the statement stated.
Meanwhile, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for the state, Mrs Onyeka Pauline Ugochi, confirmed that the commission’s office located in Iboko, was set ablaze yesterday morning.

But in a statement by Okoye, INEC added that, the incident occurred around 10.00am, when some unidentified persons set the entire building ablaze.
Although there were  no casualties from the attack, he said the main building and all the movable and immovable items inside it were destroyed.
He listed facilities destroyed to  include 340 ballot boxes, 130 voting cubicles, 14 electric power generators, large water storage tanks, assorted office furniture and fixtures and yet to be determined quantities of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs).

Okoye said the attention of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies had been drawn to the incident and that they had commenced investigation.
He however, noted that the attack was the third on the local government office in less than three weeks, following similar ones on their offices in Ogun and Osun States on November10, 2022.

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