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INEC accuses security agents of aiding thugs

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has alleged that some election-duty security personnel sometimes aid thugs to unleash violence on voters and other electoral stakeholders.

The Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, stated this on Thursday in Abuja at the Blueprint’s Newspaper Lecture and Awards ceremony.

Also, Yakubu said some INEC staff had in the past tried to circumvent the process by conniving with politicians

He said; “The recent activities of some security personnel during elections is worrisome. Some security personnel tend to pander to political actors. In some instances, some security personnel have aided and abetted thugs. Security of Technical Support Staff and gadgets was threatened.

“The recent unfortunate burning of INEC offices has resulted in the loss of election gadgets and materials.

“The infiltration of staff by Politicians is still a source of concern. Some INEC staff try to connive with Politicians to circumvent the electoral processes.”

Yakubu said subject to the amendment of the Electoral Act, Electronic Results Transmission right from the Polling Units PUs offers the best prospect for protecting the integrity of results.

According to him, INEC had piloted the electronic results collation and transmission (e-Collation) system in many bye-elections before the 2019 General Elections and was in the process of piloting it.

He recommended the prosecution of electoral offenders and possibly the enactment of the Electoral Offences Commission Act which he said would minimize the attitudes of many actors in the electoral process.

Ahead of the 2023 general election, Yakubu said the voter enrollment software will be a new one as the rate of voter authentication has been on the decline since 2015, hence the need to recapture as many fingerprints as possible, using better fingerprint capturing software and hardware is important.

Read also: INEC says recurring attacks on its facilities may cause national crisis

He said apart from ensuring that the INEC database conforms in totality with the requirements of the National Identity Management Commission NIMC for citizens registration and with plans to commence the use of Electronic Boy Machines EVM, “it is important to update the register of voters to include additional biometric features like facials, as this will strengthen the integrity of the register”.

For election-day voter authentication, Yakubu said despite the introduction of Smart Card Readers SCR in 2015, it has been observed over the years that the rate of successful authentication has been on the decrease.

“It has therefore become difficult to ascertain that indeed the person that brought a Permanent Voter Card PVC to the PU is the rightful owner of the PVC.

“The manual process of verification of the face of the cardholder with the picture on the Permanent Voter Card PVC has been grossly abused at the Polling Unit PU.

“Going forward, with improvement in technology, and the hardware restrictions of the SCR, INEC is considering a leap in its technology for voter authentication”, he said.

According to him, INEC will now use a bimodal biometric authentication system that uses two biometric features to identify a person.

“INEC is using both facials and fingerprints identification system for voter authentication – come 2023- using tablet computers”, he said.

He said currently, an Electronic Voting Implementation Committee EVIC is set up to consider the possibilities and modalities for the deployment of Electronic Voting Machines for elections.

By Victor Uzoho…

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