By EMMANUEL OLONIRUHA
ABUJA- The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has commenced prosecution of persons arrested for illegal possession of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
The commission disclosed this in a statement by Mr Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee in Abuja on after the commission’s meeting.
Okoye said that the commission, at the meeting, deliberated on a number of issues, including the arrest and the prosecution, as well as the collection of PVCs.
Okoye said in the last couple of weeks, the Nigeria Police arrested some individuals found to be in illegal possession of voters’ cards in some states of the federation.
“In one case, the Police have concluded investigation and handed over the case file to the commission, resulting in the successful prosecution of one Nasiru Idris at a Magistrate Court in Sokoto who was found in possession of 101 PVCs in contravention of Sections 117 and 145 of the Electoral Act 2002.
“He has been sentenced to a year in prison.
“Similarly, the Police in Kano State have arrested a man who was found to be in possession of 367 PVCs.
“The suspect has been charged to court and the commission is pursuing his prosecution,” Okoye said.
Okoye reiterated INEC’s commitment to continue to pursue all violators of the Electoral Act and ensure their diligent prosecution.
He said that the end of the statutory period for the display of the register of voters for claims and objections, INEC was determined to make the collection of PVCs as seamless as possible.
Okoye said a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) had been developed.
He said that would be among the issues to be discussed and finalised at a retreat in Lagos from Nov. 28 to Dec. 2, involving all the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) from the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Okoye said at the end of the retreat, the commission would release the dates and the detailed procedure for the immediate collection of PVCs nationwide.
“The commission appreciates the patience and understanding of Nigerians, especially those who registered as voters or applied for transfer/replacement of their cards from Jan. to July 2022.
“In making the cards available for collection, the commission is also working to ensure that the process is hitch-free.”(NAN)