The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reacted to a claim that permanent voter cards (PVCs) were found buried in the gutter in Imo state.
In a viral video online, residents were seen gathered around several PVCs said to have been dug out of the ground.
In a statement on Thursday by Festus Okoye, INEC national commissioner, information and voter education, the electoral body said its attention has been drawn to videos trending online that PVCs were allegedly buried underground in some locations, “including the compound of a high-profile person”.
INEC said it is not taking the allegations lightly, adding that it has “commenced immediate investigation and anyone found culpable in this diabolical scheme clearly intended to disenfranchise Nigerians will be sanctioned under the law”.
“Every eligible Nigerian who registered as a voter is entitled to his/her PVC. The constitutional right to vote in any election must never be suppressed or abridged in any way,” the statement reads.
“As far as the record of the Commission is concerned, PVCs have been printed for all valid registrants in Nigeria up to 14th January 2022 and delivered to all the States of the Federation for collection by voters. We will not allow retrogressive elements to sabotage our efforts.
“The issues of voter registration, compilation of the voters’ roll and issuance of PVCs are at the heart of any democratic elections and the Commission is working hard to ensure that every eligible citizen who appears in person at the registration venue is registered. We assure Nigerians that this matter will be pursued to its logical conclusion.
“Already, the Commission is reviewing the procedure for collecting PVCs to make it less cumbersome and more transparent. This will be a major topic at the next regular quarterly meeting with stakeholders so that working together we can find a lasting solution to the issue.
“Meanwhile, we appeal to those who found the allegedly buried PVCs to deliver them to our nearest State or Local Government office. This will be their patriotic contribution to the consolidation of our electoral process.”