Underage Voting: Reps to probe INEC

By Samuel Ogidan and Gift Chapi Odekina
The House of Reprentatives yesterday mandated its Committee on Electoral and Political Party Matters to investigate alleged registration and issuance of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) to under-aged voters by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
This followed a motion moved by Hon. Johnbull Shekarau, during plenary in Abuja.
Moving the motion, Shekarau expressed concern over reports on the social, print and electronic media which indicated that there were incidences of under-age voters who presented themselves at polling stations with Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and voted in the last local government election in Kano State.
He explained that the Director of Publicity and Voter Education at INEC, Oluwole Osaze Uzzi, while speaking on the Africa Independent Television (AIT) recently admitted that the under-age voters were registered because the lives of the registration officers were being threatened.
The incidence, he noted, had caused serious embarrassment to the nation and amounts to a threat to the country’s democracy.
“The incidence has caused serious danger to the security of lives of officials posted to handle sensitive national issues such as registration of eligible voters.
“The incidence, if left unchecked, will have adverse effects on the peaceful conduct, credibility of future elections and the legitimacy of elected leaders,” he said.
Contributing, Hon. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta (Abia State PDP), stressed the need to conduct an investigation into the matter. He averred that the house should request for the INEC voter register used during the election so as to ascertain the source of the lapses, clear such lapses and restore confidence in the nation’s electoral system.
The committee is expected to present its report to the house within five weeks for further action.

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