By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA: The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has insisted on the use of Smart Card Readers SCR for Saturday’s Governorship, State Assembly and FCT Area Council Elections, urging Nigerians to ignore any information to the contrary.
National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye in a statement Tuesday in Abuja noted that since the conduct of the February 23rd 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections, there have been allegations from certain quarters Commission was selective in its use of Smart Card Readers in its conduct of the elections.
“These allegations have led to speculations that INEC may be forced to jettison their use in the March 9, 2019 Governorship, State Houses of Assembly and Federal Capital Area Council elections”, he said.
The statement added that it is mandatory for the card readers to be used as there would be sanctions on both electoral officials and voters in a areas where it is not used.
“INEC hereby states categorically that the allegations are absolutely false and the speculations are without any basis whatsoever. The use of the Smart Card Readers is not only mandatory but its deliberate non-use attracts the sanction of possible prosecution of erring officials in accordance with the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of elections. This is in addition to the voiding of any result emanating from such units or areas as was done in the Presidential and National Assembly elections of February 23, 2019.
“The general public and all officials engaged for the elections are hereby informed that the Commission is not reconsidering the use of these Smart Card Readers which has greatly improved the credibility of our elections and instilled a high level of public trust In them.
“To clear any doubt or ambiguity, we wish to state that the deployment and mandatory use of Smart Card Readers in next Saturday’s elections will not only be uniform but also universal, and the provisions of the Regulations and Guidelines will be strictly and vigorously enforced. All Stakeholders are to note and be guided accordingly please”, the commission added.