No going back on card readers, Jega tells senators

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega on Wednesday insisted that the commission will not revert its decision to use Card Readers for the accreditation of voters in the rescheduled 2015 general elections.

Jega, who appeared before the 109-senate members for hours told them that card readers will help check electoral fraud perpetrated by politicians in connivance with INEC staff at polling booths.

The INEC boss, who quoted relevant sections of the 1999 constitution and the Electoral Act 2010, argued that INEC did not go outside of the law with the introduction of card readers for the purpose of voter accreditation.

He said section 52 (2) of the electoral law only deals with voting and prohibits the use of electronic voting machines.

He explained that large percentage of voters from Adamawa, Yobe and Borno state got their PVCs in time because Adamawa and Yobe states were among the pilot states to which the commission began to distribute cards across the country.

On reports of Permanent Voter Cards being snatched, stolen or bought over by politicians, Jega said “anybody who buys or steals PVCs cannot use it for election and it is therefore useless to do so.”

He said 3000 PVCs were recently snatched from INEC staff in Ebonyi state.

On the possibilities of further postponement of the elections, Jega said doing so will be unconstitutional as the time limit provided by law will elapse in April.

Jega maintained that no patriotic Nigerian should ever contemplate any further delay in the elections adding that Card Readers don’t violate Electoral law.

The INEC chairman however, admitted that between 800,000 to 1 million PVCs were yet to be produced but assured that they are in the process of production and will soon be distributed to voters.

When pressed further by senators that if by the expiration of the six weeks the service chiefs demand for further delaying of the polls, what he and the commission will do, Jega said he could not speak for the service chiefs as such matters of security are not within the purview of INEC.as an electoral body.

Jega was summoned by the senate on Tuesday after a motion on the matter was moved by senate leader Victor Ndoma-Egba who alleged that the use of card readers violate the electoral law.

Director General of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign organisation Ahmadu Ali had requested that the card reader be dumped in the election.

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