We’ll lock uncollected PVCs in CBN – INEC

The  Independent National Electoral Commission has said  Permanent Voter Cards not collected by their owners before February 8  will be  kept in  ‘quarantine’ in  the Central Bank of Nigeria. The commission’s Chairman of  Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, in an interview with  Saturday PUNCH on Friday wondered  why  those who own the cards had not collected them.

He said, “The reports from different states  indicate that many  Nigerians have collected their Permanent Voters Cards. Most Nigerians are aware that the commission registered a total of 84, 004,084 eligible voters.

“Out of this number 14, 283,734 million were registered during the Continuous Voters’ Registration. The collection of PVCs is still on and will go on till February 8.  Thereafter,  the commission will recall all uncollected PVCs and  keep them in quarantine  with  the Central Bank of Nigeria and they will remain there till the elections are over.”

Okoye added, “It is difficult to give the exact number of PVCs that have been collected so far. The collection of PVCs is still taking place in  the 774 local government areas. After the February 8, 2019 deadline, the commission will recall all uncollected PVCs and give an account of the number collected and the number yet to be collected.

“Nigerians  will be informed about  the PVC collection data and the commission is committed to a transparent process. We urge Nigerians  to approach INEC offices  in their  LGAs and collect their PVCs.”

Asked how many PVCs  had yet to be collected  and what INEC was doing to address the  situation,  the INEC chief  said, “The commission has insisted and will continue to insist that registered voters must collect their PVCs personally and there will not be collection by proxy. The commission printed  14, 283,734 million voter cards for new registrants and  printed replacement cards for those that lost their voter cards and those whose cards are defaced.”

He said  INEC had a consolidated register with a total of 84, 004,084 registered voters, adding that since it was a huge database of registered voters, the commission had done well in registering Nigerians.

“The law provides the period for those that want to change their polling units to do so. The PVCs of these category of persons  are  different. They must comply with the provisions of the law before they will be cleared  to move to  new polling units.”

Meanwhile, there  are indications that many Nigerians who registered to vote in the forthcoming  elections may be disenfranchised due to the challenges facing INEC.

It was learnt  many eligible voters who  took part in the Continuous Voter Registration  were    given  temporary slips.

Saturday PUNCH learnt that some voters who logged on to  INEC’s  website to verify their status with  using  the temporary slips were either told that their registration was invalid or their cards could not be found.

When our correspondent logged on to the website on Thursday to check his status, he got the following result: Sorry, we couldn’t find your details using the data you provided in the form. Please check the data and try again. If you are confident that the data provided is correct, please contact INEC by clicking here.”

A voter, Rosemary Ogbonna, said  she had yet to be given her PVC more than five months after she got registered.