The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said Thursday it would continue to deploy Smart Card Readers for elections despite resistance by some partisan interests.
The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education of the INEC, Festus Okoye, who disclosed this in a statement in Abuja, said the clarification had become necessary following attempts to misrepresent his position at a roundtable on electoral issues.
He said: “The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will continue to use and deploy the Smart Card Reader(SCR) in all elections including the rerun elections in the Kogi West Senatorial District, the Ajaokuta Federal Constituency and Sabuwa State Constituency elections holding on Saturday, November 30, 2019.
“This clarification has become necessary in the light of remarks attributed to the National Commissioner in-charge of Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye Esq at a program organized by the Situation Room, which gave the impression that Smartcard Readers are no longer useful in the electoral process. To the contrary, the National Commissioner spoke in the context of attempts by some political interests to willfully by-pass the Smart Card Reader during elections to inflate their votes. They do this against the backdrop of the Supreme Court’s decision that the SCR is not to be used exclusively to determine over-voting.”
According to him, the Commission introduced the card reader in the electoral process principally as an additional confirmatory and authentication tool to determine the authenticity of cards presented by voters and eliminate impersonation, which are serious challenges to the electoral process in Nigeria.
“The SCR is therefore designed to strengthen the integrity of the electoral process and eliminate multiple voting.
“In accordance with Section 49(1 & 2) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and Clause paragraph 10(a) of INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, a person intending to vote with his voters card shall be verified to be the same person on the Register of Voters by use of the Smart Card Reader (SCR).
“Furthermore, by paragraph 10(b) of the said Regulations and Guidelines, “Any Poll Official who violates the provisions of paragraph 10(a) relating to the use of the Smart Card Reader shall be deemed to be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to prosecution,” the INEC official concluded.
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