By Emma Amaize
WARRI— SOME of the registration officers recruited by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, are sleeping in churches because no accommodation was provided for them and also being starved of food.
Also at some registration units, politicians have induced the registration officials to register under-aged persons.
Investigations by Vanguard showed that two registration officials manning a registration unit at Olie Primary School, Akwukwu-Igbo in Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State were not provided with accommodation and so, they sleep in a church in the community.
Vanguard learnt that they were practically being starved of food as the officer who was supposed to feed them was allegedly withholding their money and other allowances.
A source said, “this is pitiable, those who brought these people here to register voters just abandoned them, they were fed with two gala and soft drink in the first few days when they came here and for the past one week, they have not brought food for them.
“It is Good Samaritans that give them money to feed and we are hearing that people somewhere are slashing their allowances, that we have not confirmed.”
This reporter who registered in the said unit, weekend, had to give the registration officials money to buy food since they confirmed that they were actually being starved of food.
At Aviara ward in Isoko South Local Government Area of the state, it was learnt that an INEC area registration officer (names withheld) sacked the National Youth Corps members carrying out registration in two units for refusing to comply with his directive to register under-aged persons.
The Forum for Justice and Human Rights Defence in a statement on the development, yesterday, said: “Our attention has also been drawn to series of complaints all over the state to the effect that some politicians in connivance with some area registration officers are conniving to register persons below 18 years of age.
We call on the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Delta State in the interest of a credible registration exercise in the state to immediately investigate the case of Aviara Ward 3, Units 27 and 28 in the Isoko South Local Government Area of the State where the registration area centre officer (names withheld) is conniving with some politicians in the area to register under aged persons”.
According to the group, ‘We use this medium also to advise eligible voters in Delta State to shun the idea of registering in locations outside where they ordinarily reside, as we submit that such voters may have deliberately disenfranchise themselves owing to restrictions on movements on election day and other contributing factors that may arise there from”.
“We condemn the use of monetary gratification by politicians in luring unsuspecting eligible voters into registering in locations outside where such voters are ordinarily resident. We make bold to state that under the Electoral Act, 2010 such politicians and their collaborators are liable to prosecution by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)”, it stated.
Also, it was gathered students of a higher institution at Ogwashi_Uku in Delta state been mobilized financially by some desperate community leaders and politicians in Oshimili North to leave their locations to register in the community so as to beef up the number of voters in the town.
The students were reportedly being carried in buses on a daily bases since the registration commenced to register in the community. Vanguard visited the community but could not confirm the allegation that the traditional ruler of the town hijacked and diverted two Direct Data Capture, DDC, and machines to his palace for illegal registration.