The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disassociated itself from incidents of underage voting reported to have taken place at the last Local Government elections in Kano State.
After the exercise, videos and pictures emerged online, showing under-aged persons thumb-printing ballot papers and voting in the election.
Inn a statement signed by its Director, Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi in Abuja on Tuesday, INEC said the images which have gone viral did not relate in any way to any election organised, conducted or superintended by the commission.
Osaze-Uzzi said the commission could not be held directly or vicariously liable for an exercise outside its legal purview.
He said: “It should be pointed out here that local government elections are exclusively the responsibility of the respective State Electoral Commissions, who are in no way under the control and supervision of INEC.
“As far as the commission is concerned, they relate to a local government election conducted at the weekend, over which INEC has no legal control or responsibility whatsoever”.
He added that INEC “remains resolute in its commitment to sanitise the nation’s electoral process and deliver free, fair and credible elections”.
He said that in addition to running the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), the commission would employ its business process rules to weed unlawful entries.
He said INEC was aware of the challenges encountered in some quarters by prospective registrants in the ongoing nation-wide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR).
Osaze-Uzzi said steps had been taken to ameliorate the situation through the acquisition and deployment of new Direct Data Capture (DDC) machines for registration.
The director said the commission had also increased the number of registration centres in the affected areas.
He appealed to those who did not register in the previous registration exercises to do so now.
He gave the assurance that the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) of those who registered in 2017 would be ready for collection in May 2018.