Nigeria commission explains removal of voters from biometric registry and fends off rumors
Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission is explaining the removal of millions of partially-registered voters from the registry as incomplete online processes that never reached the stage of biometrics enrollment.
The continuous voter registration exercise resulted in just over 12.3 million completed registrations, according to The Cable.
Slightly under 8.9 million Nigerians completed their registration in-person at registration centers, and just over 3.4 million began the registration process online and completed the process in-person. INEC said in an August update that more than 7 million people, however, had begun the process, but not completed it, and would be removed from the voter rolls.
INEC Commissioner Festus Okoye has now issued a statement explaining that those 7 million applicants began the pre-registration process online. Nearly 4.2 million of them did not complete the pre-registration, while almost 2.9 million failed to attend registration centers to complete the process by enrolling their biometrics.
Okoye denied that the commission had deliberately prevented anyone from completing the online pre-registration process.
Millions of voters were also removed through a recent biometric deduplication process, though INEC says it will be able to accommodate million of voters internally displaced by violence and regional instability.
INEC assures electorate
The run-up to Nigeria’s elections next February and March has been fraught with rumors of underage voters in the country’s restive Northern States, concerns about the implementation of the biometric Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), and allegations of exclusion from the voter registry.
THEWILL reports that Resident Electoral Commissioners have been appointed from President Muhammadu Buhari’s political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and worries about the vulnerability of the electoral system to hacking by insiders has been widely expressed.
A lawsuit arguing the BVAS should not be used in 2023 has been brought in federal court and rejected, and the CUPP (Coalition of United Political Parties) party has alleged a conspiracy to rig the 2023 poll and been warned by the governing body.
INEC Chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu rejected allegations of illegally disposed Permanent Voter Cards, and said that the country’s Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) will boost transparency in the process and prevent identity theft.