The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of violating some aspects of the 2022 Electoral Act. The group, in a statement on Monday, said INEC has failed to comply with Section 19 (1) of the Act which deals with the display of voters register across the country.
The section requires the commission to set aside “a period of seven days during which a copy of the voters’ register for each Local Government, Area Council or Ward shall be displayed or published for public scrutiny at every registration area and on its official website or any website established by the Commission for that purpose.”
The group, in its observation, admitted that the INEC has pasted voters’ registers but not in full compliance with the law. According to the statement by the converners – Ene Obi, Asmau’u Joda and James Ugochuckwu, the commission only displayed the voters’ register at the LGA levels not at the registration centres as stipulated in the Act. They noted that such breach might have robbed some Nigerians the opportunity to raise objections to some of the names on the register.
“INEC had displayed voters’ register at its Local Government Area Offices nationwide for seven days from 15th to 21 August 2022 for citizens to make claims and objections.
“This is a vital aspect of the election process that promotes credibility of the voters’ register as citizens are able to raise objections with respect to the name of a person included on the register who is not qualified to be registered as a voter in that area, or who is deceased, or whose name has been omitted,” it said.
The Situation Room also called on the electoral body to digitise the process as mandated by the new Act and save Nigerians from unnecessary stress.
“We are demanding that INEC comply with this provision by displaying the register at the Registration Area/Ward level and on its website for 7 days.
“This has to be done before the Commission commences printing of Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCS) for new registrants. As we head into the elections, we urge the electoral body to carry out its responsibilities in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022,” the group said.
The Situation Room is made up of over 70 Civil Society Organisations (CSOS) working in support of credible and transparent elections in Nigeria.