The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that visibly underage persons who attempt to vote during the 2023 elections will be arrested.
INEC’s National Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, said this on Monday during an interview on ‘The Morning Show’, a programme by Arise Television.
Okoye said in an effort to address issues around underage registration, INEC has summoned all its officers in areas where underage registrations were recorded.
“They will appear before a special panel of the commission and it is still ongoing. We have also made it very clear that any visibly underage person should not on any account, approach any of our polling units on election day, because if the person does, the person will definitely be arrested.
“The parents will also be arrested for aiding and abetting such a venture”, he said.
Speaking further, Okoye said the clean-up of the voters’ register is ongoing, adding that Nigerians would be pleased with the end result.
“Some of the data you saw on social media about underage registration were some registrations that took place from 2011 to before the 2019 elections.
“This commission had the courage to publish the entire register of voters and asked Nigerians to also check to ensure no malicious registrations have gone into our voters’ register.
“So, we have harvested all the claims and objections and are cleaning up the voters’ register. We assure Nigerians, that the voters’ register we are going to go into the 2023 general election with will be one they will be proud of.
‘As of today, the voters’ register is hovering around 93.5 million registered voters. On January 16, the commission will publish the official register that will be used for 2023 elections.”
On the collection of permanent voter cards (PVCs), the INEC commissioner maintained that PVC collection by proxy is not allowed.
“If people made efforts to register, they should also make efforts to come out and collect their PVCs. This commission will not, under any circumstance, give out any PVC by proxy”, he said.