The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has extended the deadline for collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) nationwide by one week. The electoral umpire had fixed January 22 as ultimatum afer the facilities were devolved to the wards and registration areas to ease collection by registrants. National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, in a statement, yesterday, said the decision was taken at the end of the Commission’s regular meeting, where the issue and others were deliberated.
He said INEC was encouraged by the turnout of registered voters and the surge in the number of collected PVCs across the federation. Okoye said: “In some of the states, as many as 100,000 PVCs were collected in the last five days since the devolution to ward level started on January 6, 2023. The Commission is determined to ensure that registered voters have ample opportunity to collect their PVCs ahead of the forthcoming elections. “For this reason, the timeframe for collection of PVCs is extended by eight (seven) days. Instead of ending on January 22, 2023, the collection of PVCs will continue until January 29, 2023. At the moment, the period of collection is 9.00a.m. to 3.00p.m. daily (including Saturdays and Sundays).
“As a result of this extension, there is a consequential adjustment of the collection by location as follows: Collection at Registration Area (Ward) level is extended by one a week from January 16 to 22, 2023. “Collection at Local Government level will resume on January 23 to 29, 2023.” He added that the Commission was investigating allegations of extortion by officials at some of the collection centres and inducement by some unscrupulous voters to circumvent processes to obtain their PVCs. Those found culpable, Okoye said, will face disciplinary action and/or prosecution. He continued: “Similarly, the Commission is disturbed by allegations of discriminatory issuance of PVCs in some locations. This is against the law.
All bonafide registrants are entitled to their PVCs and to use them to vote on Election Day in any part of the country, where they are registered. “Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) have been directed to ensure that no such practices occur nationwide and take immediate disciplinary action against violators. “For the record, the Commission has printed 13,868,441 PVCs for all new valid registrants as well as applicants for transfer or replacement of cards. “Nevertheless, issuing officers should compile any complaint about non-availability of cards and forward them to their immediate supervisors for the attention of RECs, who shall compile and forward them for necessary action.”