The Independent National Electoral Commission,(INEC) has raised the alarm that some politicians have started buying up Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, and financially inducing unsuspecting voters to harvest their Voter Identification Numbers.
The Acting Chairman of INEC and National Commissioner overseeing the FCT, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Plateau States, Mohammed Haruna, raised the alarm on Monday during the launch of #YourVoteMatters project by an election observer group, NESSACTION, in Abuja.
He said that two people were recently convicted for illegal possession of PVCs in Sokoto and Kano States.
The project, supported by the International Foundation for Electoral System ( IFES ), the United States Agency for International Development ( USAID) and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) seeks to assist INEC in increasing the number of PVCs collected ahead of the 2023 general elections as well as the voters mobilised on election day.
Speaking, the INEC National Commissioner also warned the electorate to desist from compromising the ownership of their PVCs.
“We are aware some politicians are more or less buying the PVCs. If you collect the PVC and then you sell it out or allow someone else to have it, you are aiding illegal possession of the PVC which is an offence in our Electoral Act.
“Some of you are aware that only recently, INEC managed to convict two people who were found guilty of illegal possession of PVC’s in Kano and Sokoto.
“So, I urge people to connect their PVCs, keep it safely, and make sure that on election day, you go out there and cast youtr votes because, of course, without your PVC you cannot vote,” he said.
On her part, the Executive Director of NESSACTION, Ambassador Eniola Cole, explained that the project slated for implementation in the FCT, Nasarawa, and Plateau States, will provide logistics to incentivise communities with low PVC collection rates.
While commending INEC for gains made in the electoral process through technology and other reforms, she said, “We implore the general public to take advantage of the timeframe set by INEC for PVC collection at the Commission’s LGA offices nationwide from December 12, 2022 to January 5, 2023, and at the 8, 809 Registration Areas from January 6, 2023 to January 22, 2023, including Saturdays and Sundays.
“The public can, through dedicated channels, inform us of their location in order to receive support, including the PVC collection buses and community outreach activities to be conducted at the local level in each state by our community mobilisation officers.”