INEC to engage National Assembly over smart card reader, others

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday, December 3, said it will be engaging lawmakers at the National Assembly to review the nation's electoral legal framework.
        The chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu while speaking at the opening ceremony of the commission's meeting with its Resident Electoral Commissioners said the major factor that would be considered during the engagement is the status of the smart card reader. Yakubu said the use and status of the SCR cannot be jettisoned or even over emphasised. He said the commission is seeking to find ways whereby the card reader can solve three problems including verification of the genuineness of the Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVC), confirmation of ownership and fingerprint authentication of voters. Stating that the SCR must be provided for all polling units during elections, Yakubu said the use of the card reader should also be protected by law. He said: "The judgment of the Supreme Court on the primacy of the voters’ register as the determinant of over-voting in law merely draws attention to the lacuna in the electoral legal framework, which must be addressed through an immediate and appropriate amendment to the Electoral Act.” According to him, the commission will present a proposal to the National Assembly on the matter as well as other areas in which further deployment of technology will deepen the integrity of the electoral process. Speaking on the electoral offence and violence mostly perpetrated by politicians during elections in Nigeria, Yakubu said the commission plans for all elections to be successfully conducted and for the will of the people to prevail at all times. “It is inconceivable that INEC will make elaborate arrangement for the deployment of personnel and materials and then turn around to undermine ourselves in the field on election day. Impunity has become the bane of our elections," Yakubu said. “Even where the Commission recorded the most successful prosecution of electoral offenders following the violence witnessed in the Minjibir State Assembly bye-election in Kano State in 2016, it is unclear how many of the 40 offenders sentenced to prison with the option of fine actually spent time in jail," he added.

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