CVR: YIAGA Africa seeks INEC probe of Bribery, intimidation; demands Extension
YIAGA AFRICA STATEMENT ON THE CONTINUOUS VOTER REGISTRATION (CVR)
Yiaga Africa calls on INEC to extend the CVR exercise by three weeks Calls for investigation of allegations of bribery and non-deployment of personnel in some Registration Centers Commends INEC for deploying additional 209 machines to Kano, Lagos and five states in the Southeast
1. As part of efforts to provide independent oversight of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) Yiaga Africa deployed 119 trained and accredited citizen observers to observe the ongoing continuous voter registration (CVR) exercise in the six geopolitical zones. Yiaga Africa Watching the Vote also received reports from its volunteers from all the 36 states and the FCT. According to the reports received thus far, the CVR exercise has been largely successful except for some glitches that may undermine the transparency and credibility of the process or result in the disenfranchisement of voters if unabated.
2. The main challenges observed by Yiaga Africa include malfunctioning of the Voter Enrollment Device (IVED), inadequate registration devices, capacity deficits on the part of INEC registration officials, inconsistencies in the decentralization of the CVR in some states, low public awareness of the schedule and locations for the rotational CVR and lastly, extortion and bribery of registration officials.
3. Yiaga Africa commends INEC for responding to citizens demands by deploying additional enrollment devices to manage the high turnout of intending registrants in some states like Lagos, Kano and the five states in the South east. However, we note with concern reports alleging denial of the rights of citizens to register and disruptions of CVR in some locations. Yiaga Africa urges INEC to investigate these reports and ensure the constitutional right of citizens to register to vote is protected.
4. Having conducted extensive voter mobilization for the CVR and engaged citizens in various communities across Nigeria, Yiaga Africa recommends the following;
I. INEC should extend the June 30th deadline for the CVR by three weeks. An extension will accord INEC the opportunity to handle the high volumes of applications for application. While we note that the CVR extension will require a shift in the schedule, it does not violate, Section 9(6) of the Electoral Act 2022 which states that, “the registration of voters, updating & revision of the voter register shall stop not later than 90 days before any election”.
II. Investigate allegations of bribery and extortion of intending registrants: The reports of extortion of intending registrants by INEC officials before individuals are registered is reprehensible. INEC should immediately investigate the allegations of the payment of N1,000 for voter registration in some locations, especially in Kaura Namoda LGA in Zamfara state.
III. Resolve malfunctioning Voter Enrolment Device (IVED): To inspire confidence in the CVR process, INEC is urged to improve the efficiency of the enrollment devices and ensure timely replacement of malfunctioned devices to prevent suspension of the exercise as was observed in Ilofa, Oke Ero LGA in Kwara State where the CVR was temporarily suspended on Friday, June 3, 2022.
IV. Address the intimidation and harassment at the registration Centers: INEC should collaborate with the relevant security agencies to investigate reports of intimidation and harassment of eligible voters in some registration centres, to ensure the culprits are prosecuted. Every eligible voter deserves to register to vote without any form of intimidation, harassment or violence.
V. Improved collaboration to support the CVR process: Yiaga Africa commends civil society groups, media organizations, religious and traditional organizations for their steadfastness and commitment to citizen’s mobilization for the CVR. Yiaga Africa urges INEC to maintain strategic partnerships with critical non-state actors to support the commission with public outreach, escalation and resolution of challenges of CVR and countering fake news and misinformation.
Signed. Samson Itodo Executive Director 11th June 2022