The Indepedent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) has extended deadline for the collection of Permanent Voters Cards by eligible registrants.
According to a statement released to newsmen by Festus Okoye, National Commissioner & Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, the exercise expected to be concluded on Sunday 22nd January 2023 has been extended by one week and would continue until Sunday 29th January 2023.
The Commission in the statement said it ‘is encouraged by the turnout of registered voters and the surge in the number of collected PVCs across the country. “
INEC which admitted rife allegation of extortion of prospective voters anxious to pick their PVCs disclosed that it has commenced its investigation and vowed that those found culpable would be brought to book.
Okoye equally admitted allegations of discriminatory issuance of PVCs in some locations and assured Nigerians that
Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) have been directed to ensure that no such practices occur nationwide and take immediate disciplinary action against violators.
The statement read in part, ” At its regular meeting held today, Thursday 12th January 2023, the Commission deliberated on a number of issues, including the ongoing collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) nationwide.
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“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 leve, 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:
“Collection at Registration Area (Ward) level is extended by one a week from Monday 16th – Sunday 22nd January 2023.
“Collection at Local Government level will resume on Monday 23rd – Sunday 29th January 2023.
“Meanwhile, the Commission is investigating allegations of extortion by 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.”