By Gabriel Ewepu, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission, Tuesday, disclosed deploying Bimodal Voter Accreditation Device, BVAD, to capture faces and fingerprints of voters.
This was made known by the Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Festus Okoye, the a working Group Meeting on ‘The Strengthening Accountability Networks Among Civil Society (SANCUS)’ Project, organised by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, in Abuja.
Okoye said: “It is evident that the sanctions provided in the constitution and the law is ridiculously mild and possibly accounts for the disdain currently being exhibited by political parties and their candidates in complying with directives relating to party finances and election expenses.
“Civil society groups and organizations must mount and sustain advocacy for reasonable, rational and deterrent sanctions against the leaders of political parties and the parties for violation and willful refusal to comply with the law and the constitution relating to party finances and election expenses.
The sanctions must include an increase in the fines and prison term for the leaders of defaulting parties.
“We believe that the sovereign right of the people as is exclusive as their votes remains the only sources of truth in the leadership succession in Nigeria.
“Illegal, extrajudicial and extraconstitutional means to distort and render valueless the vote and mandate given to the people must be vigourously resisted. We therefore encourage CSOs to act collectively to protect our democracy.
“This particular commission is irrevocably committed to deepening the use of technology in the electoral process because we believe that the more the deepening of the use of technology in the electoral process will lessen human interference in our democratic elections.
“And it is in this wise this present Commission will for the first time unveil our ‘Bimodal Voter Accreditation Devise’ during our election Delta State.
“This Bimodal Voter Accreditation Devise will also be used during the Anambra Governorship election; this particular device will enable voters use their fingerprints during accreditation.
“If your fingerprints fails then use your facial. So if your fingerprints fail and your facial fails then the implication is that the person who is coming to vote is not a registered voter and not owner of the Permanent Voter Card, PVC, and the issue of people say they will fill the incident form and still vote will no longer be there.
“If we cannot read your fingerprints we can read your facial, and if we cannot read your facial you are not a registered voter, and we will not allow you to participate.
“We will also use the bimodal voter accreditation system for purposes of uploading polling unit results into our result feed portal.
“There is nothing in the constitution and there is nothing in the law that prevents the Commission from deploying technology in the electoral process. So even within the ambits of constitution and the law, and also within the powers allow the Commission in all its rules and regulations.
“We will continue to deepen the use of technology in the electoral process. We believe that that is the way to go. We believe that Nigeria is ripe to join regional and international organizations and other agencies that have deployed technology successfully in the electoral process.
“CSOs and other organizations must have their eyes on the ball to make sure that all of us collaborate in order to deepen the democratic process because the conduct of good election is multi-stakeholder duty.
“No institution can go it alone; the political parties, CSOs must come on board, security agencies must also secure the electoral environment for the commission to deploy and become successful.
“We are going to be collaborating with all the relevant organs and stakeholders to make sure that we continue to deepen the use of technology, and also continue to cleanup our electoral process for the benefits of the Nigerian people.”