The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has reacted to the Coalition of United Political Parties allegations of planned suspension of the Biomodal Voter Accreditation System for the conduct of the 2023 elections.
The Commission in a statement signed by its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, noted that while it encourages and respects the rights of citizens to demand accountability, exercising caution was also necessary.
The statement reads
“The attention of the Commission has been drawn to a report of a press conference addressed by the Coalition of United Political Parties on the Register of Voters for the 2023 general election.
“The Commission recognizes and respects the right of citizens, either as individuals and groups, to demand an explanation from public agencies, including INC, and to hold them accountable.
However, it is always important that caution is exercised so that such interventions do not unwittingly sow doubts in the public mind, thereby diminishing public confidence and trust in the electoral process.
“Nigerians would recall that on 31st July 2022, the Commission suspended the Continuous Voter Registration 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 cleanup 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 an 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.
“Finally, it is only after the cleanup and claims and objections have been completed that the final registration will be published.”