INEC accepts to extend voters’ registration – Reps

The House of Representatives on Wednesday said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has accepted to extend the ongoing Continous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise beyond June 30, 2022.

Aisha Dukku, Chairman of the House committee on electoral matters, accompanied by Benjamin Kalu spokesperson of the green chamber said this while briefing journalists in Abuja.

The had though a motion sponsored by Kalu last week asked INEC to extend the voters’ registration deadline by extra 60 days to enable Nigerians to register.

Dukku told journalists that the committee held a meeting with INEC during which the commission agreed to extend the timeline, though not up to the 60 days requested.

She also said that INEC will deploy more machines and ad-hoc staff to scale up the exercise, adding that the commission will be working at weekends to achieve the objective of getting prospective voters registered.

The electoral matters committee chairman emphasised that the meeting did not agree on the period the extension will last.

She said: “We invited INEC Chairman and he came and we presented the request and resolutions of the House and the resolutions are: INEC to extend the registration of all Nigerians of 18 that want to be registered to get their PVCs.

“In the motion, we mentioned for at least two months which is 60 days. The resolutions of the motion were discussed at length and in response, the chairman of INEC saw with the House what is physically happening in our various constituencies. The number of people coming out for registration is unprecedented and we cannot deny Nigerians wanting to be registered because it is their constitutional right

“In their response, they were positive because they are also a body in charge of that aspect. With that registration, the process of election is hampered. The first success is to get Nigerians that are eligible their voters card so that they can exercise their right come election day.

“However that registration of voters is one aspect. There are other milestones that have to be achieved which include the printing and distribution of the voters’ card. And the printing of lists of all persons registered in all the 7744 local governments nationwide

“So he said it would not be possible for INEC to extend to the days we requested. However, they would go back and look at their timelines and look at how best they can to increase the days for registration.

“Mind you, they are already in court in Abuja. A court has stopped them from closing the date for registration on that June 30. The court is asking INEC to appear on June 29. In essence INEC would inform Nigerians as to how many days they will be able to extend the registration in view of other milestones that they have to achieve.

“The process is not just registering Nigerians. It involves another process even cleaning up the register to clean out multiple registration and those that are not new registrants.

“The cleaning of the register is also another process which is their responsibility. In view of other milestones that they have to achieve, INEC is also going to look at the request of the House through the motion and tell Nigerians how long they would be able to extend.

“However, on a positive, they have also informed the committee that it would include weekends, they would also increase the daily time for the registration and also increase adhoc staff. That would also mean the machines to be used also would be increased.”