The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has debunked claims accompanying a viral video that its workers were stealing voter information from permanent voter cards (PVCs) in Lagos.
Within the past 48 hours, videos have gone viral on social media platforms showing some persons copying information from PVCs onto their mobile phones.
There were also claims following the videos that INEC was trying to rig the 2023 elections.
In a statement on Wednesday, Festus Okoye, INEC national commissioner, said the commission was aware of the video.
While confirming that the persons in the video were INEC staff at an office of the commission in Festac, Amuwo Odofin LGA in Lagos, Okoye said the video shows the staff “harvesting” voter information numbers (VINs) from PVCs as part of an inventory process for older, uncollected cards.
“In its determination to enhance the rate of collection of PVCs, the Commission decided to establish a PVC collection process that includes an online component,” the statement reads.
“The procedure entails that registered voters with access to the Internet could go to a dedicated portal to ascertain whether their PVCs are ready and to find their locations for subsequent collection.
“All they are required to do is to provide their details such as name, date of birth, state of registration or the last six digits of the VINs that they provided/received during registration, to locate their cards.
“This would improve the PVC collection process, but without prejudice to those who wish to go directly to the collection centres.
“For the newer PVCs, that is those from the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) that took place between January and July 2022, the VINs were harvested automatically and made available online.
“However, for the older uncollected PVCs that predate the new guidelines, their VINs must be harvested manually and painstakingly for upload to the PVC collection portal (www.voters.inecnigeria.org). The portal will also improve the records of the Commission regarding collected and uncollected PVCs.
“While the Commission appreciates the vigilance of Nigerians and their determination to see the conduct of free, fair, credible and inclusive elections in 2023, it is exceedingly important that information such as contained in the said video is verified before sharing it with the public.
“A major threat to the upcoming general election comes from fake news and disinformation. The Commission appeals to Nigerians to remain conscious of this, even if the prior intention is worthy.”