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ELECTIONS: Ex-INEC boss, Jega, faults naira redesign policy



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A few hours to the 2023 general elections, former Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega, has said there was no 100 percent assurances that the Commission’s database couldn’t be hacked.

Jega, who spoke on the preparedness of the electoral umpire and other related matters in an interview on Trust TV on Thursday, hailed INEC for the efforts so far to ensure credible polls.

The introduction of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) was a major milestone by INEC to digitalize electoral process and ensure transparency during polls.

BVAS will be used to read Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and authenticate voters to prove their eligibility to vote.

The device will also be handy in transferring the number of verified voters at each polling unit directly to INEC database.

Speaking on the development, Jega said this wasn’t tantamount to the seamless security of the INEC database.

He said: “You see, in this modern age, nobody can give you 100 per cent assurance that a database cannot be hacked, unless the database is not online.

“In 2015, when we did the elections, our database wasn’t online. But now, particularly because there’s the issue of electronic transmission of results, it has to be online.

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“But all over the world, databases are used and they are relatively safe to be used because people now deploy effective cyber-security systems.

“INEC had said consistently, that knowing the political terrain, they have also got the best cyber security for the databases that they have. And we have to believe that they’ve done their best.

“It doesn’t mean it will be 100 per cent secure, but I know that whoever uses a database, also uses a security alternative which virtually nobody knows.”

Jega also described the ongoing naira redesign policy as ill-timed, adding it might impact negatively on the credibility of polls.

“From my experience, cash is required because at the time I did the election in 2015, we deployed 750,000 ad-hoc staff. And this category of staff are required to spend the night at where’s called RAC, that’s Registration Area Centre.

“They will also be there at their various polling units, maybe from 6:00am until hopefully 7:00pm or even longer. So they need to have something to eat. All these people will need cash, because there are most likely no ATM or POS machine to withdraw.

“So cash is a necessary requirement for the operational readiness of INEC on election day. So the cashless policy is ill-timed”, he concluded.

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