RESIDENTS of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have expressed frustration over the registration process for the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) at some centres.
Due to complaints by residents, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) opened 14 new registration centres across the city to ease the process.
However, complaints of minimal coordination and delay in the process have persisted even at the new registration centres.
At the Government Secondary School (GSS) in Wuse Zone 3 on Tuesday, tempers were frayed as residents stood in line for the registration.
Many said they had waited hours without making progress, while others told The ICIR that officials carrying out the registration announced that only 100 people would be registered daily.
Describing the process as tedious, a city resident, Andrew Habila, recounted his experience to The ICIR.
“The process is tedious. I have been here since 7:00 am but I have not even collected the form. You can see the queue is very long and many are still outside.
“They gave us a paper to list our names, which we did. We are still on the queue waiting to see if we can get the forms. They said it is only hundred per day. I am number 82,” he said.
Another resident, Blessing Abdulkareem, told The ICIR that she got to the centre as early as 5:00 am but as of 11:00 am she was yet to get registered.
She also confirmed that the officials announced that only 100 people would be attended to. According to her, the officials told those whose numbers were above 100 on the list to return home.
“I was here since 5:00 am. I came here under the rain. We wrote our names, they said they will not take more than a hundred, that if the names are more than 100, the rest should go home,” she said.
Blessing alleged that security officials were taking bribes to hasten the process for some people, including those whose names were not on the list.
“They said they would be calling people in tens. But when it got to our turn, they started skipping the numbers. The security man started collecting money and allowing some people to enter. An officer here, we were complaining, he said we should not try nonsense here and that was why I started having issues with the policeman,” she said.
However, when The ICIR spoke to some INEC officials on duty, they denied the allegations.
An official who refused to give his name urged the residents to reach out directly to the INEC officials carrying out the registration process.
“We are here from 9:00 am o 4:00 pm, sometimes 6:00 pm. As far as people are here, we attend to them. We don’t have a limit. If you don’t have a PVC, we attend to you. Seek from us, then we’ll tell you what to do,” he said.
The situation was no different at the Government Secondary School (GSS) in Life Camp.
Some residents had alleged that security officials at the centre were also taking bribes to help certain people jump the queue.
A resident, Isaac Emmanuel, said people paid between N2000 to N3000 to register.
“They are paying to go and register. If someone is number 46 and I am 26, the person could give the security man money to call his name so he can go and register. They pay about N2000 to N3000 to get registered,” he said.
Samuel Christopher, who was at the GSS Life Camp for his registration, urged the government to provide more equipment to hasten the process.
“This process is unfair. The way we are suffering here is not good. The government has to provide more equipment for us to get it easily. We are not doing this to get paid, this is our right. They have to provide more equipment and staff,” he said.
For Yongu Orhemen, who said he arrived at the centre at 6:30 am, officials are quite sluggish with the process.
“The systems here are inadequate and the people working here are sluggish. Some of us have been coming here since the day before yesterday and we haven’t achieved anything up till now. I came as early as 6:30 am but I haven’t achieved anything. They call the names of people that are not here, while people here are not doing anything,” he said.
INEC officials, however, prioritised registration of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) as seen at the Government Secondary School in Life Camp.
Speaking to The ICIR, a woman living with disability, Gladys Osaze, said the process was seamless for her as she was attended to as soon as she came.
“It was very successful, they are trying. Immediately I came, they ushered me in. It didn’t take much time before they attended to me and I left the place. I didn’t spend so much time there,” she said.
Last week, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) told The ICIR that citizens were not expected to pay any fees for registration.
Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, said this during a virtual interview with The ICIR.