- INEC has vowed to investigate reports of underage voting in Kano state
- The electoral body said the lives of some of its registration officers were being threatened in various communities
- The commission's director of publicity said officers have been advised to report and leave any zone suspected to be dangerous for them
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday, February 16, said it will get to the root of reports of underage voting in Kano state.
The electoral body agreed that it is the responsibility of the registration officers to curb the rate of such voting.
Speaking on Kakaaki, an African Independent Television programme, the director of publicity and voter education, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said lives of some INEC registration officers were being threatened in various communities.
Osaze-Uzzi said: "I agree that it is the responsibility of the registration officer to do that (refuse to register underage persons), but there are times that circumstances are such that where there is present and clear danger that he risks being assaulted or being killed, I think it will be unreasonable to expect him not to succumb to the pressure."
Osaze-Uzzi however, said the officers have been advised to report and leave any zone suspected to be dangerous for them.
"The law says the registration officer is entitled to act on some kind of identification or birth certificate or proof of age. But very often, they are resisted, especially when there are lots of people there. They are challenged in a charged atmosphere and they are there without any protection.
"Many of them are there in strange communities which they don’t know anything about. So, there is undue pressure on them to register at this point.
"It is not a complex process, you display the voter register and people come there. That is in addition to the fact that the registration officer can refuse anybody registration. But we don’t expect people to risk their lives for what is essentially a simple patriotic service.
"But if they get away with that (getting registered) and the report is not taken, the second opportunity is when the register is displayed.
"The best opportunity is where higher officials physically look at each register as much as they can and those who are clearly not qualified are removed. So, it is a three-pronged process and there are different stages,” Osaze-Uzzi said.
NAIJ.com earlier reported that INEC sought to allay public worries over the credibility of Nigeria’s future elections after pictures of underage voters emerged from local government polls held on Saturday, February 10, in Kano state.
Premium Times reports that observers, including the Centre for Information Technology And Development (CITAD), and Action Aid International Nigeria, said they witnessed voting by underage citizens during the elections.
in a statement by a spokesperson to the commission, Oluwole Uzzi, on Tuesday, February 13, INEC said the disturbing pictures did not relate to any election it conducted or had responsibility for, thereby allaying fears over its capacity for credible elections.
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