INEC to resumes nationwide voter registration, says NIN not compulsory

April 1, 2021
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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that it will commence a nationwide continuous voter registration (CVR) on June 28 across the 774 local government areas of the federation.

The Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this on Thursday in Abuja at a news conference.

This is as he also said that the National Identification Number (NIN) would not be a mandatory criterion for the CVR.

Yakubu said the exercise which will be conducted nationwide effective from June 28 will be carried out throughout this year and the third quarter of next year.

He said that the exercise would take off in Anambra State in view of the governorship election slated for 6 November in the state.

He recalled that the CVR took place continuously from 27 April 2017 and was only temporarily suspended on 31 August 2018 to enable the commission to prepare the data for the production of the Register of Voters and printing of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) for the 2019 General Elections.

The INEC boss said that the CVR could not recommence in 2020 due largely to the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Why NIN won’t be used for CVR registration’

Asked if the National Identity Number (NIN) would be made mandatory for the CVR, the INEC boss said that would not be the case.

He, however, explained that the NIN could be used at the point of registration as part of the means of identification.

“NIN is not going to be mandatory for voter registration.

“This is for the simple reason that we are operating on the basis of the law establishing INEC.

“Section 10 of the Electoral Act list the means of identification to be presented by prospective registrants for the purpose of voter registration.

“This includes birth certificate, international passport, national identity card, driver’s license or any other document that will prove the identity, age and nationality of the applicant and the national identity card is only one of the means of identification provided for under Section 10 subsection 2 of the Electoral Act.

“We cannot single that out and make it mandatory when the law did not say so,” Yakubu said.

According to him, the commission has learnt from the experience of the nationwide NIN registration and is also working with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), where INEC is even expecting a bigger crowd in the CVR.

He added that both the manual and online CVR would kick off simultaneously and that while the commission had 1,146 registration centres, it has added 1000 more centres including rotation centres.

‘Ekiti by-election remains suspended indefinitely’

Speaking on the disrupted Ekiti State by-election, Yakubu said that the commission would continue to engage with political parties, security agencies and other stakeholders.

He said: “We would continue to work to strengthen prosecution and this is critical for us and the nation.

“As long as violators of our laws are not penalised, this brigandage is likely to continue.

“And given what happened recently in Akwa Ibom State, no one is in doubt about the determination of the commission to ensure that those who violate our laws are prosecuted.

“We would continue to protect the staff we deployed to the field, we will continue to protect the sanctity of the process and above all the protection of voters.

“The first victims of violence in Ekiti State were actually the voters. This is why we suspended the election indefinitely and I mean indefinitely.

“If people are going to kill voters on election day or even election officials, then the election cannot proceed,” Yakubu said.

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