Even as registration for the Permanent Voters Card, (PVCs) for the 2023 general election is scheduled to end on Saturday, 30 July, 2022, a whopping number of 44, 572 permanent voters’ cards are still laying at the INEC offices in Rivers State.
Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu, a National Commissioner for Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) who disclosed this at the INEC office in Port Harcourt said out of about 54,945 new Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, received by Rivers state, only 10,373 had been collected, leaving an outstanding 44,572 for transfers and replacements.
Agbamuche-Mbu who is National Commissioner for INEC in charge of Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa and Rivers while appealing to people of Rivers to go and collect their PVCs, regretted that collection of PVCs in Rivers had been low with seven months to go for the 2023 general elections.
She stated that Rivers received 95 INEC Voter Enrollment Devices called IVED and deployed to 24 registration centres in the local government areas and also to the head office.
Mbu said the Commission registration officers and other staff at the LGAs had been working assiduously to make sure they registered voters in the state.
According to Mbu, from the records, 278,417 new voters were registered as well as 127,670 voters transfer and 43,080 Permanent Voters Card replacements as at July 24
The Commissioner said the Commission had a record of about 302,297 cards from the old PVC which only 33,575 were collected.
“The Commission is working hard in its preparation for the 2023 general elections and strongly desires that no citizen is disenfranchised and that every vote will count,” she stated.
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She said that the Commission was now in the last week of the exercise which would be concluded by July 31.
Mbu commended the figures that emanated from Rivers state during the registration.
“I therefore urge the people of Rivers state to collect their permanent voters cards in good time and not to wait until the last minute of 2023 general election,” she said.
Meanwhile, security agencies in Rivers have commenced investigation into how thousands of Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs loaded in sacks got inside a drainage system in Rumuodara axis of Obio-Akpor Local Government Area of the state.
Residents of Apa-Ogwu Estate in Rumuodara community made the discovery of about 10,000 Permanent Voters Cards, (PVCs) abandoned in a drainage in the area.
The abandoned PVCs were discovered while the residents were clearing the debris from the drainage.
A resident of the Estate who pleaded anonymity said when they closely examined the contents of the bags, some of the names on the cards indicate people likely to be from registration areas such as Iriebe and Rumuokoro, all under thye Obio-Akpor Local Government Area. According to him, the PVCs were stuffed in sacks and abandoned under culvert inside the drainage.
The source asserted that immediately information about the discovery of mysterious PVCs leaked in a viral video, some persons who claimed to be staff of Chairman of Obio-Akpor Local Government Area came to pick them up.
He claimed that the local government officials emptied the PVCs into baskets before taking them away
However, top officials of Obio-Akpor Council who pleaded anonymity claimed that they did not know about the PVCs found in drainage.
They also said nobody from the council was ordered to evacuate cards from the drainage scene.
However, the INEC confirmed that it has reported the incident as captured in the viral video pushed out by those who discovered the PVCs to security agencies.
In a press statement signed by Mr. Richter Alabrabra, its Administrative Secretary in Rivers, INEC said the incident as captured in the viral video has been reported to the Nigeria Police and other security agencies for investigation and further action.
He assured that the outcome of the investigation will also be made public once concluded.
INEC assures that the Commission will continue to work with the security agencies and well meaning Nigerians to preserve the integrity of the Electoral process.
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