- Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum made the allegations in a communiqué it released on Sunday, June 17
- The communiqué was issued after a meeting by the leaders on Friday, June 15 in Lagos
- INEC has denied the allegations and called on the Forum to provide evidence to back up its claims
Leaders from southern and middle belt part of the country have alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is reportedly registering foreigners, particularly from Niger Republic to vote in 2019 polls.
The leaders under the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum claimed that the alleged registration of foreigners was to allow for electoral malpractices in the general elections slated for February 2019.
Punch reports that the Forum made the allegations in a communiqué sent to pressmen on Sunday, June 17 after the leaders from the Middle Belt, South-South, South-East and South-West met in Lagos on Friday, June 15 and issued the document with the title “Our case against 2019 elections preparations”.
The communiqué was signed by the quartet of Yinka Odumakin (South-West); Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-South); Prof. Chigozie Ogbu (South-East) and Dr Isuwa Dogo ( Middle Belt).
The leaders alleged that they had intelligence report showing that INEC was registering Nigeriens and other foreigners for the purpose of voting in the 2019 elections.
“Equally worrisome is the intelligence report at our disposal that a large number of mercenary voters have been registered from neighbouring countries especially from Niger Republic under the continuous voter registration…”
The communiqué also conveyed the leaders concerns over 2019 elections and their demand for the suspension of INEC chairman Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu while the underage voter scandal in Kano is investigated.
INEC has denied all the allegations, saying they were baseless. The electoral commission’s director of publicity and voter education, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said evidence should be provided to prove the claims.
“If anyone is alleging that there is irregular registration, we display the register and they should furnish us with evidence of such illegality. If someone who is not entitled to be in the register is on the register, we will have the opportunity of removing that person.
“So, if they can furnish us with details, I think we will be able to properly look into it because the voter register is exclusively for eligible Nigerian citizens. If there are non-Nigerians on the register, they should help us by providing us with details such as location, pictures especially since there is an opportunity to do so when the register will be displayed next month.”
NAIJ.com had reported that calls for the removal of the chairman of INEC Prof Yakubu was expected to gain momentum as leaders of southern and middle belt leaders’ forum met over it on Friday, Odumakin, joint secretary of the Forum disclosed on Wednesday, June 13.
Odumakin said the leaders would not back down on their demand for the removal of Yakubu and the service chiefs before the 2019 elections.
INEC official at Abuja court - on NAIJ.com TV