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  INEC investigating allegations of extortion at PVC collection centres

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it is investigating allegations of extortion by its officials at permanent voter card (PVC) collection centres.

 In a statement released on Thursday, Jan. 12, and signed by Festus Okoye, its national commissioner and chairman, information and voter education, the commission said officials found guilty will face disciplinary action.

The statement reads: ''The Commission is investigating allegations of extortion by officials at some of the collection centres and inducement by some unscrupulous voters to circumvent processes in order to obtain their PVCs. Those found culpable will face disciplinary action and/or prosecution.

 "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."

 Meanwhile, there have also been complaints by some persons over non-availability of their PVCs.

But the commission, in its statement, said it has printed all PVCs of new registrants and those who requested transfer.

 It, however, directed issuing officers to compile complaints on unavailability of cards.

 "The Commission has printed 13,868,441 PVCs for all new valid registrants as well as applicants for transfer or replacement of cards," the statement reads.

 "Nevertheless, issuing officers should compile any complaints about non-availability of cards and forward them to their immediate supervisors for the attention of Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC) who shall compile and forward them for necessary action.

 "The Commission once again appreciates the patience and perseverance of citizens as we continue to finetune our process to make the collection of PVCs easier."




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