A rights group, the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, of failure to register over thirty million eligible citizens in the ongoing continuous voter card registration in the country.
The group made the claim in a statement signed by its principal officers: Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chinwe Umeche Esq and Chidimma Udegbunam Esq and made available to newsmen on Monday.
The statement noted that “no fewer than 30 million citizens of Nigeria involving the 18 years and above have been denied registration as ‘registered voters’ in Nigeria by INEC ahead of the all-important 2023 presidential election.
“Intersociety hereby makes bold to say that non-capturing of these 30 million Nigerian citizens or more, is ill-conceived and politically motivated.
“The Commission has inexplicably and suspiciously shut down its online fresh voters’ registration portal, thereby shutting out millions of computer literate prospective registrants and forcing millions of others into frustration and registration centers
“It must therefore be clearly stated that denying eligible citizens, irrespective of their tribe, religion, gender and class, their rights to vote is a serious violation of their fundamental human rights. Such chaotic denial also constitutes a serious threat to local, national, regional and international peace and security.”
The statement also noted that about 20 million registered voters have been denied their Permanent Voters Cards by the Commission, while an estimated total of 10 million others presently contained in Nigeria’s National Register of Voters are strongly suspected to still bear the identities of minors and illegal aliens.
“From our recent field checks, estimated 20 million unregistered voters are found in the South, out of which 10 million eligible voters in the South-East are yet to be captured by INEC. Estimated 4.5 million others are yet to be captured in the South-South while 5.5 million remained unregistered in the South-West.
“Many, if not most of those affected in the South-West are non natives especially members of Igbo Ethnic Nationality residing in Lagos and Ogun States. Out of the 10 million unregistered voters in the North, at least 40%-50% are non Northerners especially members of Igbo Ethnic nationality; 35%-40% are non Muslim Northerners while remaining 10% belong to Muslim citizens.
“Apart from threats of violence from radical natives especially the Muslims, being responsible for widespread disenfranchisement of the named segment of the population, they are further disenfranchised through deliberately created bureaucratic hitches including shrinking number of registration centers/polling booths in their held areas, inadequate number of INEC’s manpower and registration machines and malfunctioning of such machines.”