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INEC rules out NIN as mandatory for voter registration

THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has ruled out the possibility of making National Identification Number mandatory for the Continuous Voter Registration as it resumes the exercise on June 28, 2021, in the 774 Local Government Areas ahead of the 2023 general election.

Chairman of the commission, Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this yesterday while speaking on the preparation for the nationwide exercise.

Prof Yakubu said, “The NIN is not going to be mandatory for the simple reason that we are operating on the basis of the law establishing INEC. Section 10 of the Electoral Act lists the means of identification to be presented by prospective registrants for the purpose of registration.

“These include birth certificate, national passport, national identity card, or any other document that will prove the identity, age, and nationality of the applicants. The NIN is only one of the means of identification provided for under section 10 (2) of the Electoral Act.

“We can’t single that out and make it mandatory. All the other requirements are requirements of the law and we must apply the law equally. Yes, if you have your national ID card, you can present it during registration but we will not make it mandatory means of identification for the exercise.”

Yakubu said the registration exercise would be carried out continuously for over a year until the third quarter of 2022.

The commission had earlier in the year announced that the exercise would commence in the first quarter of 2021.

He said, “The CVR could not recommence in 2020 due largely to the Covid-19 pandemic. In line with the general advice by health officials regarding events involving large groups of people, we considered it inauspicious to restart the CVR at the height of the pandemic…In the light(sic) of the pandemic, the commision promised the nation that it would recommend the CVR in the first quarter of 2021.

“The first quarter of 2021 ended yesterday (Wednesday) and obviously the commision was unable to restart the CVR exercise…In consideration of these challenges and the measures we have taken to overcome them, the commision is now in a position to announce Monday June 28 2021 as the date for the recommencement of the CVR exercise nationwide.

“When it comes to voter registration, we expect perhaps higher crowd. Between 2017 and 2018 when we did the last voter registration, 14.2 million Nigerians registered.

“This time around, we are projecting something much higher anywhere between 16-20 million. We will make process safer for our staff and voters and that is why we are taking our time to develop online registration portal so people would not have to crowd around the polling unit for registration.

“On how it works, they will start the process online and there is going to be locator on the portal we are developing that will guide them to the next available registration center for the capture of their facial and biometrics. We hope that will also help us to deal with multiple registration. We want to completely eliminate multiple registration.”

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