The Independent National Electoral Commission has commenced investigation into allegations that some Permanent Voter Cards had been buried underground in some locations.
A video had surfaced online allegedly showing PVCs in packs discovered by residents at underground locations, including the compound of a high-profile person.
The incident had generated condemnations from Nigerians who said it was an attempt by some high profile persons to disenfranchise voters ahead of the 2023 general elections.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, gave hints of the investigation in a statement on Thursday.
He said investigation has commenced, insisting that anyone found culpable “in this diabolical scheme clearly intended to disenfranchise Nigerians will be sanctioned under the law.”
Okoye said every eligible Nigerian who registered as a voter is entitled to his or her PVC, adding that constitutional right to vote in any election must never be suppressed or abridged in any way.
He said, “As far as the record of the commission is concerned, PVCs have been printed for all valid registrants in Nigeria up to January 14, 2022 and delivered to all the states of the federation for collection by voters. We will not allow retrogressive elements to sabotage our efforts.
“The issues of voter registration, compilation of the voters’ roll and issuance of PVCs are at the heart of any democratic elections and the commission is working hard to ensure that every eligible citizen who appears in person at the registration venue is registered. We assure Nigerians that this matter will be pursued to its logical conclusion.
“Already, the commission is reviewing the procedure for collecting PVCs to make it less cumbersome and more transparent.
“This will be a major topic at the next regular quarterly meeting with stakeholders so that working together we can find a lasting solution to the issue.”
Okoye appealed to those who found the allegedly buried PVCs to deliver them to the commission’s nearest state or local government office, saying, “this will be their patriotic contribution to the consolidation of our electoral process.”