Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (lNEC) said it has no plans to stop the deployment of Smart Card Readers in all elections, including the supplementary poll for the Kogi West Senatorial District, the Ajaokuta Federal Constituency.
In a statement signed by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, the commission noted that the clarification became necessary in view of the remarks attributed to him at a programme organised by the Situation Room, which gave the impression that Smart Cards were no longer useful in the electoral process.
It also said the commission will continue to collaborate with security agents to prevent individuals and/or groups from undermining the use and application of the Smart Card Reader in elections.
“The lNEC will continue to use and deploy the Smart Card Reader (SCR) in all elections including the rerun elections in the Kogi West Senatorial District, the Ajaokuta Federal Constituency and Sabuwa State Constituency elections holding on Saturday, November 30, 2019.
“This clarification has become necessary in the light of remarks attributed to him at a programme organised by the Situation Room, which gave the impression that Smart Card Readers are no longer useful in the electoral process.
“To the contrary, the National Commissioner spoke in the context of attempts by some political interests to willfully by-pass the Smart Card Reader during elections to inflate their votes. They do this against the backdrop of the Supreme Court decision that the SCR is not to be used exclusively to determine over-voting.
“However, the Commission introduced the Smart Card Reader (SCR) in the electoral process principally as additional confirmatory and authentication tool to determine the authenticity of cards presented by voters and eliminate impersonation, which are serious challenges to the electoral process in Nigeria.
“The SCR is therefore designed to strengthen the integrity of the electoral process and eliminate multiple voting. In accordance with Section 49(1&2) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and Clause paragraph 10(a) of INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, a person intending to vote with his voter’s card shall be verified to be the same person on the Register of Voters by use of the Smart Card Reader (SCR).”