*Advices Nigerians To Report Such Staff To EFCC, Police
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has advised Nigerians not to engage but report any staff of INEC that collects to register people for their Permanent Voter Cards (PVC).
Yakubu made this call when he answered questions on the alleged increase in INEC staff demanding for money before registering people in some part of the country.
The INEC chairman though debunked such report; however, he advised the general public to report such person(s) to the Economic Financial Crime Commission or the Nigerian Police.
“I want to say that registration, production and collection of PVC is free and inalienable. So, if anybody is collecting money from any citizen, please draw our attention to it and we will deal with it. It is free. Under the law, nobody should pay one kobo for the service that we render for our democracy.
“We want to make sure that only credible persons participate in our electoral process. And so anybody against who we find credible allegations, especially of the nature that was mentioned in the EFCC case, INEC would apply the provisions of the terms and conditions of service. That is why arising from the report of the EFCC, we interdicted 205 staff. That is the highest number of staff interdicted in the history of INEC.
“That means suspending the staff and placing him or her on half salary until he or she proves his or her innocence or guilt. I wish also to say that among the staff of the commission are some of the most dedicated and conscientious Nigerians that you can ever see. We work under extreme pressure. We have conscientious staff but at the same time, any infraction that comes to light will be seriously dealt with.
“Working together with the police we have been able to successfully prosecute over 40 electoral offenders, the highest number of electoral offenders to be prosecuted in the history of our democracy.
“If you find people dislocated on account of insurgency or violence, you will find the people in IDP camps and so it is easier to register people in IDP camps. That is why even though Borno is number five on the list, it is not the first. Most impressively for me is Benue, Benue has recorded one of the highest number of registrants under the ongoing continuous voter registration exercise. What I find interesting is that inspite of the security challenges, people are still interested in voting.
By Augustine Akhilomen