The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has extended the period for collection of PVCs by eight days.
Festus Okoye, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee announced this in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.
He said the decision was taken at the commission’s regular meeting held on Thursday in Abuja.
According to him, the Commission deliberated on a number of issues, including the ongoing collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) nationwide and arrived at the decision.
“The Commission is encouraged by the turnout of registered voters and the surge in the number of collected PVCs across the country.
“In some of the states, as many as 100,000 PVCs were collected in the last five days since the devolution to Ward level started on Saturday 6th January 2023,” Okoye said.
The National Commissioner said INEC was determined to ensure that registered voters have ample opportunity to collect their PVCs ahead of the forthcoming election.
“Instead of ending on Sunday 22nd January 2023, the collection of PVCs will continue until Sunday 29th January 2023.
“At the moment, the period of collection is 9.00am – 3.00pm daily (including Saturdays and Sundays).
“As a result of this extension, there is a consequential adjustment of the collection by location as follows:
1.Collection at Registration Area (Ward) level is extended by one a week from Monday 16th – Sunday 22nd January 2023.
2.Collection at Local Government level will resume on Monday 23rd – Sunday 29th January 2023,” he said.
The INEC Commission also said it has commenced investigation into allegations of extortion against some of its officials at some of the collection centres and “inducement by some unscrupulous voters to circumvent processes in order to obtain their PVCs.
“Those found culpable will be face disciplinary action and/or prosecution.
“Similarly, the Commission is disturbed by allegations of discriminatory issuance of PVCs in some locations.
“This is against the law. All bonafide registrants are entitled to their PVCs and to use them to vote on Election Day in any part of the country where they are registered.
“Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) have been directed to ensure that no such practices occur nationwide and take immediate disciplinary action against violators.
“For the record, the Commission has printed 13,868,441 PVCs for all new valid registrants as well as applicants for transfer or replacement of cards.
“Nevertheless, issuing officers should compile any complaints about non-availability of cards and forward them to their immediate supervisors for the attention of Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC) who shall compile and forward them for necessary action.
“The Commission once again appreciates the patience and perseverance of citizens as we continue to finetune our process to make the collection of PVCs easier,” the statement explained.