The House of Representatives has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to extend the ongoing registration of voters by at least 60 days to enable eligible Nigerians to get enlisted.
The call was consequent upon the adoption of a motion brought by the Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Publicity, Hon. Benjamin Kalu (APC, Abia) at Wednesday’s plenary.
Kalu, in the motion titled: ‘Need for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to extend the deadline of continuous voters registration, deploy additional staff and voters registration machines across the country’ noted that the ongoing Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) by INEC is scheduled to end on June 30, 2022, ahead of the 2023 general elections.
He said the decision to suspend the voters’ registration is in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 which requires INEC to suspend voters’ registration at least 60 days before an election.
The lawmaker said he was aware that in April 2022, INEC declared that about 42% of the voter registrations recorded since the commencement of Continuous Voters Registration on 28 June 2021 was invalid with about 20 million unclaimed Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs).
“Cognisant of the large numbers of unregistered eligible voters willing to be registered as evidenced by crowds seen at various registration centres resulting in congestion.
“Concerned by reports of shortages of voter registration machines, inadequate manpower and personnel at registration centres which may lead to frustrations among prospective registrants and in some cases, unrest at some registration centres.
“Also aware of calls from concerned citizens and civil societies urging INEC to extend the voters’ registration deadline to accommodate eligible voters desiring to register for their Permanent Voters Cards,” he submitted.
He argued that if nothing is done to improve the shortage of voter registration equipment and extend the deadline for voter registration, millions of Nigerians will be disenfranchised thus jeopardizing the integrity of the 2023 general elections.