Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) on Thursday, asked the Independent National Electoral Commission to prosecute its officials who compromised the ongoing voter registrations nationwide which led to the inclusion of over 1.3 million invalid registrations.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, also raised the alarm that there is a deliberate plot to disenfranchise millions of Southern voters in the 2023 elections. HURIWA has asked the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission to designate registration points so Nigerians without Permanent voter’s cards can present themselves for registration and be provided with their voter cards.
Recall that INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, on Wednesday, said the commission discovered 1,390,519 invalid registrations in the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration, amounting to 45 per cent of 2,523,458 completed registrations from June 2021 to January 2022.
The INEC boss cited multiple registrations, failure of Automatic Biometric Identification System, amongst others for the infractions which he said occurred nationwide, while indicting some members of staff of the Commission for the infractions.
Reacting, HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The revelation by INEC is not new but expected. This was why HURIWA in an earlier statement on April 8, 2022 called on the electoral umpire to clean its voter register and expunge child voters as well as dead persons from it so that the 2023 general elections won’t turn out a fraudulent one.
“Going by INEC’s timetable, the Presidential and National Assembly elections would hold on Saturday 25th February 2023, followed by the Governorship and State Assembly elections on Saturday 11th March 2023. This is less than a year ahead.
“However, INEC should be more prepared and stop hibernating without doing much to clean up the National Voter Register to ensure that all eligible Nigerians who wish to be registered are captured and automatically issued their PVCs.
“If over 1.3 million voter registrations are marred with multiple registrations, amongst other infractions, then, Nigerians need to query the validity and truthfulness of previous elections.
“INEC should ensure that its officials culpable in the invalid registrations are fished out and prosecuted, they should be named and shamed; they are enemies of Nigeria’s democracy and peace and so therefore they and their paymasters and politicians should be exposed and prosecuted.
“Apparently, there is a deliberate plot to disenfranchise millions of Southern voters in 2023 but this game plan should not be allowed to manifest.
“INEC should speedily work on the efficiency of its Automatic Biometric Identification System, electronic voters machines and other technologies that are to be introduced or already used in the last Anambra election but did not yield maximum results.
“INEC should conduct security audits of Nigeria and put in place strategies with the security agencies on how to prevent security challenges that always come up during elections.
“So much depend on the 2023 elections and INEC should be up and doing so as not aid and abet any fraud.
National Coordinator – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA).
April 14, 2022