By Joseph Albert (Umunna TV)
International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) has accused the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) of disenfranchising 77.4 million Nigerians ahead of the 2023 general elections.
In a statement signed by its principal officers, Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chinwe Umeche Esquire and Chidinma Udegbunam Esquire, the group also accused INEC of allowing an estimated 15 million ghost names, minors and migrants to be smuggled into the country’s National Voters Register as registered voters till date.
The statement reads in part:
“It remains the firm position of the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) that Nigeria’s INEC has caused ‘industrial scale’ damages to the country’s crucial Presidential Election fixed for 25th February 2023, to the extent that whopping 77.4 million citizens of voting age have been discriminatorily disenfranchised and excluded from participation and voting.
It is also shocking that while the whopping 77.4 million Nigerian citizens of voting age were disenfranchised from participating and voting in the 2023 General Elections, the Commission has turned around and allowed estimated 15 million ghost names, minors and migrants to be smuggled into the country’s National Register of Voters as “registered voters” till date.
The disenfranchised 77.4 million prospective voters include 30 million denied registration in the 2021/2022 Continuous Voters’ Registration (CVR), 29.3 million registered voters still denied PVCs since 2019 and 31st July 2022 and 18.1 million of the 27.4 million new registrations disenfranchised and destroyed by the Commission.
As it stands today, these 77.4 million citizens of voting age cannot participate and vote in Nigeria’s General Elections of 2023, especially in the 2023 Presidential Poll. This is more so when participation and voting in Nigerian Elections are not all comers affair. To participate and vote, voters must bear validated INEC-issued PVCs.”
The group maintains that Nigeria has 120 million citizens of voting age whereas INEC, as at July 2022, said total registered voters were 96 million, some of whom the group described as “illegal aliens,” “under-age children” and “fictitious or ghost names.”
Continuing, Intersociety said: “According to the current United Nations population statistics, including the Worldometer (world’s live statistics on population, economy and so on), Nigeria’s estimated population as at Friday 14th October, 2022, is 217.8 million, out of which 55 per cent or more than 120 million represent those in 18 years and above or citizens of voting age.
By INEC’s recent official statistics tracked in several print and online media, “the total registered voters in the country as at Feb 2019 was 8 4 million and 96 million as at 31st July 2022.” INEC also announced that “12 million (now 9.3 million) citizens were registered as voters between 28th June 2021 and 31st July 2022 and more than 20 million Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) had not been given to their owners since 2019 or before the commencement of 2021/2022 CVR on 28th June 2021;” out of which, it has been independently estimated that many belong to Southern and Northern Christians.
“From several investigations carried out by Intersociety, while no fewer than 15 million of the 96 million roguishly registered voters in the country are illegitimately and unlawfully registered by INEC as “voters,” including independently estimated 10 million illegal aliens and under-age children and 5 million registered fictitious or ghost names recently exposed by CUPP; there are independently estimated 30 million citizens of voting age never captured or registered by INEC during the 2021/2022 Continuous Voters’ Registration (CVR) exercise.
The number had involved persons of voting age that have never been captured as registered voters since their birth and attainment of 18 years and above as stipulated in Section 12 of the 2022 Electoral Act as amended. The no fewer than 30 million independently estimated unregistered citizens of voting age did not include 18.1 million recent registrations destroyed by INEC including 11 million successful online registrants that were destroyed by the Commission due to the Commission’s failure to capture their physical biometrics at designated registration centers across the country after they have successfully registered online.”
Intersociety also mentioned the destruction of 18.1 million of new voters’ registrations and 29.3 million registered voters who are denied Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) by INEC among methods used by the commission to disenfranchise Nigerians. “Total of 18.1 million of total 27.4 million new (2022) registrations involving citizens of voting age were deliberately destroyed by INEC during CVR held between 28th June 2021 and 31st July 2022; leaving only 9.3 million or 32 per cent validated.
They had included 7-11 million successful online registrants shut out and massively disenfranchised by the Commission over its failure to capture their physical biometrics at designated registration centers across the country before the closure of the CVR exercise on 31st July 2022, 1.12 million destroyed by INEC between 28th June 2021 and 12th Jan 2022; 1.85 million destroyed by the Commission between 1st Jan and 28th June 2022; 1.1 million destroyed by the Commission in Jan 2022 and 2.7 million destroyed from 31st July to 12th Oct 2022.
These are according to INEC’s publicly released official statistics and did not include 19.1 million online applicants recorded by the Commission during recent CVR exercise including those who attempted registering online but discontinued owing to one reason or the other. “Total of 29.3 million registered voters are still denied PVCs by INEC and as it stands today, they are ineligible to participate and vote in any election in Nigeria or any part thereof; whether bye-election, legislative, governorship, local government or presidential.
By INEC’s official records evaluated by Intersociety, there are no fewer than 29.3 million affected citizens or those denied PVCs till date and they include 20 million registered voters denied PVCs since 2019 or before commencement of the 2021/2022 CVR exercise and 9.3 million newly registered voters (formerly put at 12 million by INEC but now reduced to 9.3 million owing to recent destruction by the Commission of 2.7 million of the 12 million), captured by INEC between 28th June 2021 and 31st July 2022 and yet to be issued with PVCs.
It is further strongly suspected that many of them belong to citizens of Christian Faith and non-Muslim others. With INEC’s unchecked discriminatory policy, gross incompetence and nonchalant attitudes, it is strongly estimated that not more than 20 per cent or 6 million of the 29.3 million registered voters presently without PVCs will be issued PVCs in the end or between Sept and Dec 2022,” the group added.
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