Nigeria’s Civil Society Situation Room has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to expand continuous voter registration.
As the fourth quarter of the CVR fiscal year ends on June 30, 2022, citizens have stepped up their efforts to register for their permanent voter cards.
Many Nigerians have also requested INEC to extend the registration exercise to enable them to register for a PVC.
A statement signed by the organizer, Asmau Joda, and co-organizers of the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room on Friday in Abuja reads in part: “The Situation Room has received reports of large crowds at INEC offices across the country, numerous complaints as pre-registration was open on the online voter portal, this confirmed lineup was not observed by officers at many INEC offices , leading to people being treated as walk-in registrants and queuing to provide the same details already provided online.
He said registrants had to wait until the last day to register. People have also complained about the lack of staff and gadgets in the INEC offices which hamper the smooth running of the exercise.
He said the action has resulted in hesitation and reluctance from citizens who are hanging around to register in long queues.
He further said that he fears that many Nigerians will be deterred and disenfranchised if the exercise continues in this way.
Moreover, INEC has not yet reached rural communities, thus eliminating citizens who may be alienated from INEC LGA offices.
The statement said: “The Situation Room’s attention was drawn to several posts by citizens on Twitter reporting the conduct of INEC officials across the country.
“In Amawbia, Awka-South LGA, Anambra State, potential voters were asked to sweep the INEC office before being picked up or leave if they refused.
“In Nnewi North Local Government, another report says N1,000 Naira is being collected for voter registration. At Aba North LGA, workers have not been to work for four months.
“Situation Room calls on INEC to verify the conduct of its staff across the country, properly coordinate the ongoing voter registration exercise, and limit the chaotic situation in many registration centers across the country.
“If the process is handled properly and transparently, every eligible citizen will be captured. Section 9(6) of the Electoral Act 2022, which allows voter registration up to ninety days before the general election, means INEC still has the option to extend the CVR exercise .
He therefore commends the traders of Alaba, Ojo International Market in Lagos State who closed the market to register their PVCs and cleared up the rogue who came to disrupt the exercise.
It also recommends that citizens should not be exposed to this type of attack in the exercise of their constitutional right.
They urged the Nigerian Police to look into the incident and proceed with the arrest of the perpetrators to deter this incident from happening again in other places where registrants are compiled.
“Situation Room therefore urges eligible citizens who have not yet registered not to be deterred and to take advantage of the ongoing CVR exercise to do so. For those who registered between July 2021 and December 2021, the situation room calls on them to go to the INEC office in the local government area where their voting unit is located to collect their PVCs,” the statement read. .
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