Members of the Nigeria’s House of Representatives on Tuesday resolved to investigate the circumstances surrounding the registration and issuance of Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs to under aged voters in some parts of the Country by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The lawmakers who expressed displeasure over the development during the debate on the motion sponsored by Johnbull Shekarau, described it as unlawful and illegal.
Most of the law makers who contributed to the debate including Johnson Agbonayinma, Mohammed Umar Bago, Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, Henry Archibong, among others condemned the act and demanded for a decisive action from the law makers in the over interest of the nation.
While stressing the need to outlaw such practice in the Nigerian polity, the House resolved to set up an Ad-hoc Committee that would carry out a comprehensive investigation into the matter and report back to the House within five weeks.
The Lower Chamber also urged all relevant security agencies to provide maximum security for all INEC officials at their respective places of assignments to guard against any form of intimidation which the Commission admitted prompted its officials to register the under aged voters in the first instance.
In his lead debate, Shekarau said that the “House notes that Section 12(1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 provides that a person shall be qualified to be registered as a voter if such a person has attained the age of eighteen years and the INEC is empowered to register and issue Permanent Voters’ Cards to eligible Nigerians”
According to the lawmaker, “concerned about reports from the social, print and electronic media which indicated that there were incidences of under aged voters who presented themselves at polling units with Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) to vote in the recently conducted Local Government Elections in Kano State.
He added that the Director of Publicity and Voter Education at INEC, Oluwole Osaze Uzzi, while responding to questions on the Africa Independent Television (AIT) on the matter on 15/02/2018, said that the under aged voters were registered because the lives of the registration officers were being threatened;
Shekarau lamented that the incidence caused serious embarrassment to the nation and amounted to a threat to the nation’s growing democracy and a danger to the security of lives of officials posted to handle sensitive national issues such as registration of eligible voters.
KEHINDE AKINTOLA, Abuja