The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday raised the alarm over new a new method of vote buying being devised to undermine the voting process ahead of the 2019 general elections.
INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this in Abuja at the presentation of the Voter Register for the 2019 general election to political parties, NAN reports.
Yakubu said that the commission had received credible information that some partisan actors were going round buying up Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) from voters or financially inducing them to collect the Voter Identification Numbers (VIN) on their PVCs.
He said: “In some instances, telephone numbers and details of bank accounts of voters have been collected. By collecting the PVCs, their intention may be to deprive the voters of voting since no one can vote without the PVC.
“By collecting their phone numbers and bank details, the intention is to induce voters by electronic transfer of funds to their accounts since it will be difficult to buy votes at polling units.
“By collecting the VINs, they may be acting on the mistaken notion that our system can be hacked into and the Card Readers somehow preloaded ahead of election and compromised.
“We want to reassure Nigerians that we are aware of the new tricks. It is a futile effort.
“We will work with the security agencies to deal with the violators of our electoral laws, including those who may be trying to compromise our staff responsible for making the PVCs available for collection by legitimate voters.’’
Yakubu said that the commission had responded to the vote buying menace in three ways, including the alteration of the configuration of polling units by moving the ballot boxes closer to the voting cubicles, making it difficult for voters to expose their marked ballot papers.
“Secondly, we have introduced a partial ban on the use of mobile phone and other photographic devices by voters while in the voting cubicles.
“Thirdly, we are introducing the rolling and flattening of ballot papers by voters before casting them into the ballot boxes.’’