A group of aggrieved voters in Borno vowed to drag the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to court to force the organization to release their Permanent Voter’s Cards, PVC.
The group which briefed the media in Maiduguri through its spokesperson Ishiaku Yakubu said that all attempts to get their PVCs from INEC office less than three weeks before the elections have been fruitless.
Speaking about their ordeals with INEC in Maiduguri, Yakubu said: “The persons you see here this afternoon and a host of others have not been able to collect their Permanent Voters Cards having duly registered and found our names in the INEC official Electronic Voter Register.”
He continued: “Some may wonder why we waited till now to raise this concern, we appreciate the obvious effort of INEC and have given them all the trust in hope that we would get our PVCs before the deadline, but sadly, today is the official deadline for collection of PVCs with no announcement regarding any extension, but INEC in Borno state is still telling people to go and come back.”
He insisted: “We have people in their thousands (including myself) who have been going to the INEC offices for the collection of their PVCs, registered under the most difficult situations and inconvenience but are yet to get it.
“INEC has previously announced to the media that all PVCs are ready for collection and lament how Nigerians are not coming out, meanwhile we queued up at their offices and ward levels to get PVCs only to be told “your PVC is not ready, come back in 3 days, come back in one week” and stories like that.
“We have reasons to believe that there is a sinister plan to disfranchise thousands of people as there appears to be no reason for holding up the PVCs. All of us here and many others who registered, [including transfer of request for replacement of lost/damaged cards] particularly last year between May and July, have not been given their PVCs. Today is the final deadline according to INEC and people are being asked to go and come back.”
The group demanded that INEC make a public declaration that all PVCs duly registered which they claim have not been printed will be given to their owners.
“This should not end at just a promise; those cards should be printed and distributed as appropriate,” Yakubu insisted.
The group also demanded that the deadline “should not affect those who for no fault of theirs have not been able to get their cards.”
Responding to the challenge, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Mohammed Ibrahim said: “Most of them without PVC may have registered more than once. That is why they did not get them.”
He however revealed that there was a window reserved for them to get their cards which can happen only when they write to his office for redress.
” All transfers have been documented and they will receive their cards if they come to our office to receive their cards,” said Ibrahim.