Northern Nigerian Breaking News

Voter registration: INEC sanctions 23 staff members over alleged unethical conduct

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has began severe disciplinary actions against 23 staff members of the commission involved in unethical conduct during the Continuous Voter registration (CVR).

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this at third quarterly meeting with political parties for the year 2022 held on Wednesday in Abuja.

Yakubu said that the commission deployed thousands of diligent staff members for the CVR  which started on June 28, until it was suspended on July 31.

“The vast majority of them discharged their duties conscientiously. Unfortunately, a few of them did not. The fictitious registrations were carried out by some of our Registration Officers involved in the field exercise and could easily be traced.

“Each registration machine is operated using an access code tied to a dedicated e-mail assigned to a staff. There is therefore an audit trail that gives the total number of persons registered by each official involved in the registration exercise.

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“In some case, some of them made as many as 40 attempts or more to register one fake voter. As a result, the Commission has so far identified 23 Registration Officers involved in this unethical conduct and disciplinary action has began.

“We shall continue to protect the integrity of our voters’ register. It is pivotal to credible elections. It is also a national asset and easily the largest database of citizens in Africa and one of the largest in the world.’’

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Yakubu again cautioned political parties, candidates and their supporters to eschew violence during the electioneering campaign for the 2023 general elections.

“The statement was necessary against the background of clashes among supporters of different political parties, including allegations of denial of access to public facilities and the destruction of billboards and other outdoor campaign materials by acts of thuggery.

“The campaigns have just begun. As party leaders, you should remain committed to peaceful electioneering.

“We will continue to work together to remove encumbrances to the right of parties and candidates to freely canvass for the support of the electorate.

“The commission will continue to track the campaigns and will not hesitate to initiate the prosecution of violators as provided by law.’’

Yakubu said that as the elections draw closer there would be need for the commission to meet more frequently with leaders of political parties.

He urged party leaders to make themselves available for discussion even as they were busy with campaign activities, to enable the commission meet its obligations.

“We plan to invite you very soon for a discussion on political rallies and the issue of campaign finance, including the limits on expenses set by the commission after consultation with political parties.

“So if we invite you again, maybe as early as next week, please oblige us in spite of your busy campaign schedules.

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“We are also going to invite you next week to inspect samples of the materials to be used for the general election, as required by section 42 of the Electoral Act. So kindly oblige us.’’

Yakubu added that letters of invitation would also be sent to all the political parties, as required by law to inspect election materials before the printing of the materials.

“Thereafter, we can speedily commence the process of printing over 570 million ballot papers for the 2023 general elections.

“By the time you add the results, sheets and other forms and envelopes that we are going to print will print close to one billion ballot papers, results sheets and other materials.

“So, the earlier we start this, the better and from today, we only have four months and one day to the next general election.’’(NAN)

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