By OKEY NDIRIBE
ABUJA—Permanent cards for 40 million registered voters across the country would be ready by October 31, 2012, even as contract for the project worth N2.6 billion has been awarded to ACT Technologies Ltd.
This was disclosed yesterday in Abuja by Mr. Emmanuel Akem, Director incharge of Voters Registry at the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, headquarters, Abuja.
Giving a deeper insight into why INEC decided to embark on the project, Akem explained that production of permanent voter cards would reduce the incidence of fraud and rigging in future polls.
He said: ”Once biometric information of registered voters is captured in our records, we would be able to use it for the next elections in the country. It would reduce the incidence of rigging in future elections across the country.”
He further stated that with the aid of a card reader, permanent cards would be used to authenticate voters in the next elections.
Throwing more light on how the system works, he said: “Once a voter presents his card and his finger to the electoral officer at the polling booth, he would in turn screen the card with the card reader in order to authenticate whether the individual concerned is the real owner of the card or not.
“This was designed to prevent politicians who are in the habit of buying voters’ cards during elections from using such cards.”
In a related development, the electoral body stated that Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, had offered to assist INEC prosecute 878,000 electoral offenders in different parts of the country.
This was disclosed by the Commission’s Director of Public Affairs, Mr Emmanuel Umenger, while speaking to Vanguard in Abuja, yesterday.
He explained that this became necessary because INEC lacked the capacity to prosecute the huge number of electoral offenders scattered in different parts of the country, adding that so far, the commission and Police had successfully prosecuted 200 of such offenders.
Nevertheless, investigation by Vanguard revealed that most of the 878,000 electoral offenders were those involved in multiple registration during last year’s voter registration conducted before the general elections held last April.