By Emmanuel Nduka
Nigeria’s electoral Umpire- the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has extended the deadline for the collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) until Sunday January 29, 2023.
INEC had earlier fixed the collection deadline for Sunday, January 22, 2023.
But in the aftermath of a meeting on Thursday, INEC’s National Commissioner Festus Okoye in a statement said the Commission has pushed the deadline by eight days.
“The Commission is determined to ensure that registered voters have ample opportunity to collect their PVCs ahead of the forthcoming election. For this reason, the timeframe for the collection of PVCs is extended by eight days
“Instead of ending on Sunday 22nd January 2023, the collection of PVCs will continue until Sunday 29th January 2023. At the moment, the period of collection is 9.00 am – 3.00 pm daily (including Saturdays and Sundays),” he stated.
He explained that the development signals “a consequential adjustment of the collection by location as follows:
1. Collection at the Registration Area (Ward) level is extended by one a week from Monday 16th – Sunday 22nd January 2023.
2. Collection at the Local Government level will resume on Monday 23rd – Sunday 29th January 2023.
On reports of INEC officials extorting Nigerians at PVC collection centres, he said the Commission is launching an investigation into the allegations. “Those found culpable will face disciplinary action and/or prosecution,” Okoye added.
“Similarly, the Commission is disturbed by allegations of discriminatory issuance of PVCs in some locations. This is against the law. All bonafide registrants are entitled to their PVCs and to use them to vote on Election Day in any part of the country where they are registered.
“Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) have been directed to ensure that no such practices occur nationwide and take immediate disciplinary action against violators,” he added.