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INEC debunks report of denying 7m Nigerians registration

Civil society groups urge INEC to explain ‘step aside’ order on Abia REC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said claims that some seven million Nigerians who applied for online pre-registration as voters during the nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) were denied the opportunity to complete their registration and collect their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) is misleading.

It was reported that twenty-four Nigerians had dragged INEC before an Abuja Federal High Court for “failing to give them and other seven million Nigerians adequate time and opportunity to complete their voter registration after they have carried out their registration online.”

But, the commission in a statement signed by Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee on Monday debunked the claims.

According to Okoye; “on 28th June 2021, the Commission introduced the online pre-registration of voters. By doing so, citizens were given the opportunity to commence the registration online and then book an appointment at their convenience to complete the physical Biometric Capture at designated centres.

“It was a novel idea leveraging technology to ease the registration process. This was in addition to the walk-in option at physical centres, where Nigerians can commence and complete their registration simultaneously without going through the online pre-registration procedure.

“In the interest of transparency, the Commission provided weekly statistical updates on the exercise.

“For the online pre-registration, a total 10,487,972 commenced the process. However, by the deadline of the exercise, 3,444,378 Nigerians completed their pre-registration physically at the designated centres in line with the Commission’s policy.

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“Some 7,043,594 applicants did not complete the registration. Again, the Commission made the information public. This is what some people are now using to say that they were denied the opportunity when in reality they failed to either complete the online enrolment or appear physically at the designated centres to complete the process.”

The INEC chief spokesperson said a breakdown of the 7,043,594 incomplete online pre-registrations showed that 4,161,775 citizens attempted but either did not complete online pre-registration or abandoned it and went for the physical registration instead.

He added that: “2,881,819 registrants completed the online pre-registration but did not show up to complete the physical Biometric Capture at designated centres before the deadline.

“Therefore, it is clear that no Nigerians were deliberately denied the opportunity to complete their online pre-registration.”

Okoye appealed to citizens to always adhere to timelines as against the endless agitation for eleventh hour extension of set deadlines.