The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday clarified a video circulating on various social media platforms where its staff were harvesting details of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs).
In a statement, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said it was not for any malicious reason, but to ease the process of collection of PVCs.
Okoye said that INEC had become aware of a video circulating on various social media platforms.
The video clip shows INEC staff at its FESTAC Town, Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area Office, Lagos, extracting Voter Identification Numbers (VINs) from PVCs and entering the same into their cellphones.
Okoye said that the makers of the video insinuated that they were doing that for the purpose of undermining the 2023 General Election.
“The commission wishes to state categorically that this is far from the truth.
“Actually, the video shows staff of the Commission harvesting VINs from PVCs, but only as part of an inventory of uncollected cards, provided for in the new Guidelines for the Management and Collection of PVCs, approved by the commission for implementation nationwide.
“In its determination to enhance the rate of collection of PVCs, the commission decided to establish a PVC collection process that includes an online component.
“The procedure entails that registered voters with access to the Internet could go to a dedicated portal to ascertain whether their PVCs are ready and to find their locations for subsequent collection.”
Okoye explained that all they were required to do was to provide their details such as name, date of birth, state of registration or the last six digits of the VINs that they provided/received during registration, to locate their cards.
This, according to him, will improve the PVC collection process, but without prejudice to those who wish to go directly to the collection centres.
Okoye said that for the newer PVCs, mainly those from the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) that took place between January and July, the VINs were harvested automatically and made available online.
“However, for the older uncollected PVCs that predated the new guidelines, their VINs must be harvested manually and painstakingly for upload to the PVC collection portal (www.voters.inecnigeria.org).
“The portal will also improve the records of the Commission regarding collected and uncollected PVCs.”
Okoye said INEC appreciated the vigilance of Nigerians and their determination to see the conduct of free, fair, credible and inclusive elections in 2023.
He said it was, however, exceedingly important that information such as contained in the video was verified before sharing it with the public.
“A major threat to the upcoming general election comes from fake news and disinformation.
“The Commission appeals to Nigerians to remain conscious of this, even if the prior intention is worthy.”
The national commissioner reminded Nigerians that all uncollected PVCs would be available for collection at INEC 774 Local Government offices nationwide from Dec. 12 to Jan. 5, 2023.
He added that from January 6 to January 15, 2023, the cards would be made available for collection at the 8809 Registration Areas/Wards across the country in order to bring them closer to their owners.
“Subsequently, from Jan. 16 to Jan. 22, 2023, collection shall revert to our Local Government offices.
“Meanwhile, the online facility will be available throughout the exercise to assist registered voters in locating their PVCs for collection.”
Okoye thanked Nigerians for their continued support to the work of the commission.