US VP phones Jonathan, backs card reader for elections

US Vice President Joe BidenThe United States government has thrown its weight behind the Independent National Electoral Commission to use the Permanent Voter Cards and the smart card readers in the March 28 and April 11 elections.

The introduction of the PVC and the SCR for use in the 2015 general elections has been a subject of hot debate and litigation in the country.

The American government conveyed its approval of the card readers through Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday.

Biden spoke with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and the presidential candidate of the opposition All Progressives Congress, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) on the forthcoming election, a statement on Thursday by the US embassy in Nigeria indicated.

The US Vice President commended President Jonathan and Buhari for signing the Abuja Peace Accord in mid-January, describing it as a show of their commitment to non-violence throughout the election process.

The statement read in part, “The Vice President further expressed the United States’ support for the Nigerian Independent National Electoral Commission and its work to deliver free, fair, and credible elections, in part through its essential efforts to distribute Permanent Voter Cards and help ensure that electronic voter card readers are in place and fully operational.”

Biden also registered his concern on the violence recorded during some recent election-related events and re-emphasised the need for both presidential candidates to make clear that such violence had no place in a democratic process.

The US vice president stated further that the American government would stand with the Nigerian people in support of credible and peaceful elections, and would continue to stand with the Nigerian people whatever the outcome of the presidential poll.

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