The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said the deadline for the ongoing Continuous Voters’ Registration (CVR) exercise would be extended.
Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Electoral Matters, Aishatu Jibril Dukku, said this while addressing the House on the outcome of its meeting with INEC during plenary on Wednesday in Abuja.
Recall that the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise was earlier scheduled to end on June 30, but some organisations filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja, praying the court to compel INEC to extend the deadline following reports of a surge of voters in registration centres across the South-East, Lagos and Kano states.
The court ruled recently, ordering the electoral body to continue with the exercise until all eligible voters have been registered.
Also, the House of Reps had on June 15 directed that the committee should meet with the electoral umpire following a motion by Rep. Benjamin Kalu (APC-Abia). The House urged INEC to extend the voter registration by 60 days.
Briefing lawmakers on Wednesday on the outcome of the meeting, Dukku, said that the Commission has agreed to extend the CVR exercise.
“The Committee held a meeting with INEC yesterday (Tuesday) and they agreed to extend the CVR, all our resolutions were approved”, she told members of the House at plenary on Wednesday.
Duku in her submission, said the electoral umpire agreed on all its resolutions, including the extension of the voters registration.
She added that INEC told the committee that the registration days would now include weekends with additional hands to ensure a smooth exercise.
According to her, all the prayers contained in the motions were approved.
In his motion, Kalu said in April, INEC declared that about 42 per cent of the voter registrations recorded since the commencement of CVR on 28 June, 2021, were invalid with about 20 million unclaimed Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs).
He added that the large number of unregistered eligible voters, willing to be registered as evidenced by crowd seen at various registration centres, had resulted in congestion.
Kalu stated that if nothing was done to improve the shortage of voter registration equipment, and extend the deadline for voters registration, millions of Nigerians would be disenfranchised, which would jeopardise the integrity of the 2023 general elections.
As part of its resolution, the house, therefore mandated the Committee on Electoral Matters to engage INEC, to examine and proffer solutions to the shortage of registration machines and manpower.
The House also urged INEC to deploy an additional 30 voters registration machines in each local government area, train and deploy ad hoc staff to improve the shortage of manpower at registration centres.
The House resolved that security should also be provided for the staff and report back within two weeks.