Smart Card Readers, a must for governorship and State Assembly polls— INEC | Ripples Nigeria
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Smart Card Readers, a must for governorship and State Assembly polls— INEC

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Ahead of Saturday’s governorship elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned that the refusal of electoral officers to use Smart Card Readers during the exercise might lead to annulling of results emanating from such units or areas.

The commission also refuted allegations that it was selective in the use of Smart Card Readers in its conduct of the presidential and National Assembly elections, describing them as “absolutely false and baseless”

INEC said the allegations have led to speculations that it might be forced to discontinue the use of SCRs in the March 9, 2019 governorship, State Houses of Assembly and Federal Capital Territory Area Council elections.

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INEC National Commissioner and chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday, emphasized that the use of the Smart Card Readers was mandatory.

Okoye said, “Since the conduct of the February 23 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections, there have been allegations from certain quarters that the Independent National Electoral Commission was selective in its use of Smart Card Readers in its conduct of the electrons.

“These allegations have led to speculations that INEC may be forced to jettison their use in the March 9, 2019 governorship, State Houses of Assembly and Federal Capital Territory Area Council elections.

“INEC hereby states categorically that the allegations are absolutely false and the speculations are without any basis whatsoever.

“The use of the Smart Card Readers is not only mandatory, but its deliberate non-use attracts the sanction of possible prosecution of erring officials in accordance with the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of elections.

“This is in addition to the voiding of any result emanating from such units or areas, as was done in the Presidential and National Assembly elections of February 23, 2019.”

He added, “The general public and all officials engaged for the elections are hereby informed that the Commission is not reconsidering the use of these Smart Card Readers which has greatly improved the credibility of our elections and instilled a high level of public trust in them.

“To clear any doubt or ambiguity, we wish to state that the deployment and mandatory use of Smart Card Readers in next Saturday’s elections will not only be uniform but also universal, and the provisions of the Regulations and Guidelines will be strictly and vigorously enforced.

“All Stakeholders are to note and be guided accordingly please.”

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