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Senate directs INEC to extend PVC by two weeks

By The Citizen
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Senate yesterday passed a resolu­tion asking the Independent Na­tional Electoral Commis­sion (INEC) to extend the distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) in some states by two weeks.

The upper legislative chamber took the decision after members had contrib­uted extensively to a motion by Senator Ita Enang, which was supported by 107 Sena­tors.

Enang, whose motion was presented by Senator Abdul Ningi, stated that INEC con­ducted the distribution of the permanent cards in some states between May 23 and 25, 2014 but lamented that the process was faced with series of problems.

Some of the problems identified included, corrup­tion of the central processing system by virus, which re­sulted in the exclusion of the names of some voters from the published voters list and the non-production of the cards for them.

The motion observed that the time given for the distri­bution of the cards was too short and that the publicity given by INEC for the dis­tribution was not sufficient.

It observed that most of the voters do not live within the areas where they regis­tered for the voters' cards and were not able to collect them within the limited time and that those that were not distributed within the period had been returned to local council headquarters.

It added that about 200, 000 registered voters in Akwa Ibom and 600, 000 in Benue states respectively did not find their cards.

The motion added that, 'in Enugu State, the vot­ers have threatened to drag INEC to court over the dis­appearance of 621 polling units in the state from the voters' list out of the 2, 945 polling units in the state.

'Such a disenfranchise­ment could lead to a seri­ous voters apathy which  may render the 2015 general elections unacceptable,  not credible and undemocratic.

'If the voters are not is­sued with their permanent voter cards, they would not be allowed to vote and would amount to disenfran­chisement of the voters.'

The senators urged INEC not to stop the distribution of the cards until all the cards were distributed. They also mandated the Senate Com­mittee on INEC to monitor the exercise and report prog­ress and challenges periodi­cally to the senate.