The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it has received reports of attempts to clone Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and sell them online.
INEC, in a statement it issued on Sunday, said it “had anticipated these and proactively taken measures to preserve and further secure our electoral materials.”
The statement, signed by the commission’s Director, Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Uzzi, said, “Several security features and secret source codes are contained in the Smart Card Readers which enable them to read only PVCs duly issued by the Commission.”
The commission’s statement came hours after some tweets circulated online suggested that the PVCs meant for use in Nigeria’s elections were being sold by an online store.
In apparent reaction to the photos of the PVCs purported to be on sale online, INEC said, “The advertisement shows photographs of blank cards which have not been personalised and which do not contain any details.”
The electoral body said it would engage the government, the security agencies, as well as “the promoters of the platform” to investigate the matter.
“In addition to the existing features, the Commission is already working to further secure the PVCs and the Smart Card Readers and will continue to protect them from unauthorised and malicious access.
“It is for this reason that, beginning from next week, we are commencing the systematic hardware and software upgrade of all the Smart Card Readers nationwide.
“It is worthy of note that this enhancement had already been successfully done in Ekiti and Osun, preparatory to the upcoming Governorship elections in both States,” the commission said, while assuring Nigerians that its system was well-fortified ahead of the 2019 general elections.
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