Posted by News Express | 12 November 2014 | 2,849 times
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Edo State has declared that a total of 4,658 permanent voter cards (PVCs) were snatched in nine local government areas of the state during distribution.
The electoral body said yesterday the theft was recorded in 11 out of the 18 local governments in the state with Orhionmwon Local Government Area ahead others with 3,661 PVCs that were snatched in eight polling units.
Edo State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Baritor Kpagih, who made this known while briefing journalists on the outcome of the distribution exercise and outline for fresh voters registration exercise, added that 883,058 PVCs out of 1,531,580, representing about 57.7 per cent were distributed during the three-day exercise.
The REC further stated that about 648,522 PVCs were yet to be collected, appealing to would-be voters, who missed the three-day distribution exercise, to visit the local government offices of INEC in their area of registration for collection.
Kpagih, who decried the cases of card theft despite warnings by the commission, said the PVCs could only be used by the rightful owners and that the matter had been reported to the police.
The resident electoral commissioner attributed some of the challenges recorded during the exercise to lateness of INEC staff at the units and delayed training of staff.
Kpagih explained that the total number of cards meant for the state could not be disclosed, as some of the cards brought to Edo were originally meant for eligible voters in Jigawa, Kogi and Delta states.
He noted that the technical hitch might also be responsible for the non-availability of the cards at some polling units in the state.
While admonishing intending voters to make themselves available for the continuous voters’ registration exercise, Kpagih stated that 29 units had been declared zero units by the commission “because the registered voters are not up to 50.”
The INEC Headquarters in Abuja has, meanwhile, bowed to public pressure and put the creation of additional 30,000 polling units on hold till after the 2015 general elections.
In a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja by its secretary, Mrs Augusta C. Ogakwu, on Tuesday night, INEC disclosed that it took the decision following the controversy that had been trailing the exercise since it was announced.
She said in a statement: “The commission met today (Tuesday) and reviewed reports sent in from states by Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) on reconfiguration of the polling unit structure and creation of additional polling units.
“Taking everything into consideration – especially the controversy over creation of additional polling units that has been overheating the polity and the apparent inadequacy of time for the exercise – the commission took a decision to suspend the exercise until after the 2015 general election.
“The commission, nevertheless, will continue with the use of voting points, where necessary, to mitigate population pressure in overcrowded polling units during the forthcoming elections.
“It will also relocate polling units from unsuitable locations and, as much as possible, ensure that polling units are located in enclosures such as classrooms, rather than in open spaces.”
•Pieced together from separate stories in Nigerian Tribune. Photo shows INEC Chairman Attahiru Jega.
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