INEC reacts to allegation of fake names in national voters’ register

THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reacted to an allegation by the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) that the national voters’ register is filled with fake and foreign names.

CUPP had today at a press conference addressed by its spokesperson, Ikenga Ugochinyere, alleged that some names it uncovered from the INEC register were sourced from countries like Ghana, Cameroon, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Togo, Guinea, Gambia, Jamaica, Brazil and New Zealand.

CUPP, a body for all political parties in the country, also alleged it had evidence that some of the registrants in the register were captured from passport photographs and other photos.

It expressed concerns that such fraudulent acts could mar the credibility of the 2023 general elections.

Reacting, the INEC spokesperson, Festus Okoye, commended the group for its concerns but cautioned that such interventions should not be done to sow doubts in the minds of members of the public to diminish their confidence and trust in the electoral process.

Okoye clarified that the commission had not added new names to the national register since the suspension of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) in July this year.

“Nigerians would recall that on 31st July 2022, the Commission suspended the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) to commence supplemental activities that will culminate in the integration of new registrants into the final Register of Voters for the 2023 General Election.

“It is important to reiterate that no new registrant has yet been added to the Register of Voters for the 2023 General Election or will be included until these supplemental activities have been completed, in line with the law.

“For the avoidance of doubt, we restate the main components of these activities. First, the Commission is conducting a comprehensive Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) clean-up of the registration data by scrutinising every record.

“Based on the Electoral Act 2022, any record that does not meet all the criteria for inclusion as stipulated in Section 10, including the appearance in person by the registrant at the registration venue with proof of identity, age and nationality and our business rules requirements of adequate number of fingerprints and clear pictures, will be invalidated.

“Further, in line with Section 19(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, after the ABIS and clean-up, the Commission shall appoint a period of seven days during which the register will be published for scrutiny by the public for objections and complaints.”

He noted that the commission was currently cleaning up the register, and it was only after the clean-up that anyone could raise the allegation of fraud.

Okoye stated, “Finally, it is only after the cleanup and claims and objections have been completed that the final register will be published.

“The Commission will continue to provide the public with updates on the progress of these processes, as we did through our Press Release of 12 September 2022. The ABIS for the period of registration between 15th January and 31st July is being concluded presently, and the outcome in terms of multiple and ineligible records will be made public.”




     

     

    He said that more than 3,000 ineligible registrants had so far been invalidated in Oru East Local Government Area of Imo State, where the commission allegedly registered ineligible persons.

    He appealed to the public to await the commission’s display of the register for claims and objections to raise any concerns about the registration.

    He also reiterated that ABIS was robust and would detect practically all the ineligible records for removal.

    While appealing to Nigerians to support the commission as it painstakingly deals with the clean-up of the register and other processes that would guarantee that the general election in 2023 was free, fair, credible and inclusive, Okoye assured of INEC’s commitment to credible electoral processes in Nigeria.

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