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Global Rights urge INEC to improve citizen participation in election

Wunmi Semudara

A  Humanitarian right organisation known as  Global Rights, has implored  the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to improve citizens’ access to participate in the upcoming general elections by improving the efficiency of logistics for the distribution of permanent voters’ cards (PVCs). 

 While acknowledging the efforts of the Commission in ensuring that no citizen is disenfranchised in the forthcoming elections which are just a few weeks away.

The group voiced their concern  about the needless hurdles Nigerians are being subjected to in obtaining their permanent voters’ cards.

  “In our monitoring of the situation across the nation, we noted multiple challenges which created bottlenecks in the collection process.”

According to he Global Rights, INEC’s failure to resolve these issues to date suggests that a sizeable number of voters may not receive their PVCs before the new deadline elapses and thus will be unable to cast their votes.

“For instance, while monitoring PVCs collection centres in the Federal Capital Territory, we noted that while the collection process has been smooth in some locations, the situation in other locations, serving larger populations, leaves much to be desired”

Recall that INEC had announced registered voters could pick up their PVCs between December 12th, 2022, and January 22nd, 2023, and subsequently at the 8,809 Registration Areas/Wards from the 6th of January to the 15th of January 2023 between the hours of 9am and 3pm every day, including Saturdays and Sundays. Relatedly, INEC had on January 4, 2023, revealed that no fewer than 6.7 million Nigerians were yet to collect their PVCs across 17 states. As of December 20th, 2022, 231,900 registered voters were yet to pick up their PVCs in Gombe state. As of, 2022, 1,693,963 PVCs were yet to be collected in Lagos State, and 661,783 in Edo state. Other states with a sizeable catalogue of uncollected voters cards included Oyo (700,000), Ogun (400,000), Imo (300,000), Kogi (160,966), Kwara (120,602), and Borno (80,117). In the FCT, 460,643 PVCs had not been collected as of December 24th, 2022. INEC also revealed that the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) had the highest number of uncollected PVCs in the FCT.

The Group further mentioned that  Similar trends were noted in other states, including Lagos and Nasarawa states. Hence, the  call of INEC’s attention to some of the specific difficulties that several duly registered voters in the Federal Capital Territory have encountered while attempting to obtain their PVCs.

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