The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has removed 299 “aliens” from Nigeria’s voter register.
The chairman of the commission, Mahmoud Yakubu, stated this on Friday at the quarterly consultative meeting of the commission with security agencies under the auspices of the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES).
A copy of Mr. Yakubu’s speech at the meeting was made available to PREMIUM TIMES after the meeting.
“I am happy to report that the commission has been able to remove from the voter register the names of 299 aliens who registered on the false pretence that they were Nigerians.
“This was done on the basis of the information received from the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS). Registering to vote and actual voting in an election are the exclusive rights of Nigerian citizens to which aliens are excluded by law.”
The chairman said INEC would continue to deploy NIS personnel to registration centres to ensure that only Nigerians register to vote in elections.
“Before we finalise the voter register for the 2019 General Elections, the commission will undertake a thorough clean-up of the existing register.
“Under Section 12(1) of the Electoral Act, those who are below the statutory age of 18 years, aliens, persons registered in absentia, those barred by statute or regulations from registering as voters and persons who do not ordinarily reside, work or originate from the area covered by the registration are ineligible. We will continue to thoroughly scrutinise all prospective registrants in the ongoing exercise in order to ensure that only eligible registrants are registered.
“We have agreed with the NIS that they will deploy their personnel to the registration centres nationwide to ensure that only Nigerians register to vote in our election. We shall continue to work in partnership to ensure that our voter register is purged of ineligible registrants as enshrined in the Electoral Act.”
The chairman thanked security agencies in the country for their “consistent support in helping to secure the environment for the conduct of elections in a peaceful atmosphere.”
Mr. Yakubu assured that INEC would make public, copies of the rules of engagement for security agencies as part of voter education and sensitisation.
He said Friday’s consultative meeting signalled that the active political season has arrived in the country.
“Today’s meeting is coming exactly 350 days to the commencement of the 2019 General Elections, 133 days to the Ekiti State Governorship Election holding on 14th July 2018 and 203 days to the Osun State Governorship Election holding on 22nd September.
“We are already in the active period of preparations for the elections. I wish to reassure the electorate that INEC and the security agencies will continue to work in line with the rules of engagement that guarantee full rights of citizens during electioneering campaigns and actual voting on election day in a professional, non-partisan manner consistent with the provisions of the law.
“As we are all aware, INEC has embarked upon the nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise. For the Commission, this is the most important preparatory exercise before the General Elections. We are aware of the challenges faced by citizens in some centres and we have been responding within the limits of available resources.
“We wish to reassure all eligible registrants that no one will be left out. Furthermore, we wish to assure all those who registered in 2017 that their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) will be available for collection in the first week of May 2018 i.e. in the next two months. For those who register in 2018, their PVCs will be made available to them before the 2019 General Elections.”
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