The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has deleted 1,126,359 of the 2,523,458 fresh registrants that registered between June 28, 2021, and January 14, 2022 because the records were invalid. The Commission disclosed that several double, multiple and ineligible registrants were detected and invalidated.
However, the INEC announced at a stakeholders meeting recently that it will prosecute anyone involved in multiple registrations in the ongoing Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) across the country.
The INEC Head of Electoral Operations, Mr Felix Daramola issued the warning at the Eight Annual Constituency Stakeholders Meeting in Agege, Lagos State Daramola explained that the Commission had been empowered by the new Electoral Act 2022, to prosecute anybody who registered more than once.
The National commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, stated in a release on Monday, September 12, made available to journalists.
“As Nigerians are aware, the cleaning up of the register of voters using the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) is ongoing since the suspension of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) on July 31.
“Earlier, the Commission informed Nigerians that out of the 2, 523,458 (Two million, five hundred and twenty-three thousand, four hundred and fifty-eight) fresh registrants that registered between 28th June 2021 and 14th January, 2022, 1,126,359 (One million, one hundred and twenty-six thousand, three hundred and fifty-nine) records were found to be invalid and consequently delisted.
“The ABIS for the period – 15th January to 31st July 2022 is almost completed.
“These include entries that fail to meet the Commission’s business rules. The Commission takes this responsibility seriously because a credible register is at the heart of electoral integrity.
“As soon as the process is concluded, the Commission will provide the public with full information as usual.
“Thereafter, valid registrants will be added to the existing national register of voters before publishing same nationwide for scrutiny, claims and objections by citizens as required by section 19 (1) of the Electoral Act 2022.
“We reassure Nigerians that a thorough process is being undertaken to clean up the registration data.
“Similarly, Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) for all valid registrants will be available for collection by the end of October/early November as promised.”
Political analysts pointed out that the INEC should be bold to prosecute errant registrants in line with the 2022 Electoral Act. This prosecution however according to them may be difficult to enforce now considering the short period left for the conduct of 2023 general election. They agreed that such prosecution will make impact if the INEC will commence after the conduct of the general election to help serve as deterrent for other Nigerians planning to disrupt future elections in Nigeria.