The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared war against individuals in possession of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) illegally ahead of next year’s general elections.
It announced that while it has successfully convicted one Nasiru Idris at a Magistrate Court in Sokoto State, found in possession 101 PVCs, it is currently prosecuting an unidentified man from Kano State, found in possession of 367 PVCs.
In a statement signed by National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, the commission emphasised that illegal possession of PVCs contravenes Sections 117 and 145 of the Electoral Act 2002.
While giving an update on the prosecution of offenders, INEC revealed that; “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 the 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 has 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,” INEC warned in the statement.
On PVC collection, the statement noted that; “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 November 28 to December 2, 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,” the statement read.