Abuja – The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged eligible voters in Kogi, Plateau and Nasarawa States to participate effectively in the ongoing continuous voter registration to avoid disenfranchisement in 2019 elections.
INEC’s National Commissioner in charge of Kogi, Plateau and Nasarawa, Alhaji Mohammed Haruna, made the call while flagging on the registration in Lokoja on Thursday.
He said the main objective of the exercise was to register new voters for the coming elections and also distribute the permanent voter cards to those who registered before but could not collect their cards.
Haruna said the registration was also to update the voters’ register to reflect transfers and deaths in accordance with section 10 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
According to him, during the exercise which last till 2019, the commission will also deal with lost or omitted permanent voter cards and test the cards, using smart card reader.
He, however, said that the commission will not tolerate registration by proxy while multiple registration will was prohibited.
The National Commissioner charged INEC staff in charge of the exercise to take it seriously, warning them against being used by unscrupulous politicians.
Haruna, who later monitored the excise in Bassa and Dekina local government areas, expressed satisfaction with the turnout of eligible voters.
He expressed the hope that the turn out will improve further as the exercise progresses, pleading with political parties, civil society organisations, religious leaders and traditional rulers to help in mobilizing Nigerians for the exercise.
He was accompanied on the tour by the Administrative Secretary of INEC in Kogi State, Mr Adison Mailafia and other top officials of the commission. In Jalingo, the commission said would not hesitate to prosecute anyone involved in multiple registrations.
Mr Habu Zarma, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Taraba, gave the warning at the flag on of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) in Jalingo.
He said the exercise was meant for those who had attained the age of 18 years after the last election and those who were 18 but were unable to register during the last exercise.
Zarma explained that those who changed state of residence and wanted to transfer their registration status to Taraba, can do so.
“They should fill a form to facilitate the transfer of their information to their current place of residence and would subsequently be issued Permanent Voter Card.
“The exercise is also meant for those who had problem with their previous registration and want to correct the anomalies.
“But if you already have a PVC and still want to register and you are caught, we will hand you over to security agencies for prosecution”, he said.
Mrs Glory Yakubu who registered on the first day of the exercise commended INEC for the smooth process, saying they were highly professional in their conduct.
She called on people especially women to come out and register to enable them to vote candidates of their choice in subsequent elections.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that few people turned out for registration on the first day in Jalingo.