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Rights Group Accuses INEC Of Plot To Rig Elections, Places 12 States Under Watchlist

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been accused of plotting to rig the 2023 general election, which is barely two months away.

Naija News reports that the claim by a human rights organisation identified as the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Intersociety, is coming after the electoral umpire has on countless occasions promised Nigerians free, fair and credible elections.

However, the right group has questioned the commission’s ability to hold a free, fair and credible election in 2023.

The right organisation alleged that INEC was planning to rig the elections through “segregating and discriminating technicalities,” capable of depriving 77.7 million Nigerians of voting.

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The group is reported to have made the claim in Enugu during a press conference, alleging that the commission has plots to disenfranchise many eligible voters while preparing foreigners and underage voters to participate in the forthcoming polls.

The group’s Board Chair, Emeka Umeagbalasi, along with other heads of groups identified as Head, Democracy and Good Governance Programme, Chinwe Umeche, Head, Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Obianuju Igboeli, Head, Campaign and Publicity Department, Chidinma Udegbunam and Head, Int’l Justice and Human Rights Programme, Ndidiamaka Bernard all together asserted that INEC noise about conducting free and fair election might be a joke after all.

They claimed that their accusation was based on the fact that several electorates might be deliberately disenfranchised at the polls, all known by INEC.

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The organisation also alleged that out of the expected 32 million votes, 14 million will be living votes, while 18 million will be dead votes, describing underage and alien votes as dead votes.

It also alleged that out of 44 million PVC holders, 10 million have compromised their Voter Identification Numbers, VINs, and their conscience aided by INEC and politicians.

In a 27-page report, which it tagged “Nigeria’s INEC, Exposing Illegalities, Sundry Scientific Rigging plots ahead of the Feb. 2023 Presidential Poll,” the Intersociety group said it has 12 states under its watchlist ahead of the general election.

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The group’s board chair, Umeagbalasi submitted that “We identified 20 million ineligible identities, estimated 2 million illegal immigrants and 8 million underage children.

“It was part of Intersociety’s investigative findings that out of the estimated 44 million PVC holders as it stands, an estimated 10 million have compromised their PVCs and VINs.

“The exposing rigging plots included different segregating and discriminating technicalities applied by INEC leading to the disenfranchisement of whopping 77.7 million registered and unregistered voters, among them are the destroyed 18.2 new voters’ registrations arising from the 2022 CVR, over 20 million registered voters denied PVCs since 2019 after having been registered.

“9.5 million newly registered voters captured during June 28th 2021 – July 2022 CVR who are yet to be issued with PVCs and 30 million citizens of voting age never registered by INEC as voters in Nigeria, especially during the 2021/2022 CVR exercise, totalling 77.7 million.

“Many, if not most of these tens of millions of Nigerian citizens of voting age, numbering 77.7 million are strongly believed, from Intersociety’s investigation, to have been massively disenfranchised by the Electoral Body on ethnic and religious grounds.”

The rights group also claimed that INEC is also planning to favour some Northern States in the forthcoming elections, and that is why 12 states are under its watchlist.

The group further stated that  “Detailed investigation and findings made by Intersociety have identified 12 Nigerian States as major poll rigging States to watch in the February 25, 2023, Presidential Poll.

“The affected 12 Nigerian States include seven North-West States of Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara, Jigawa, Kebbi and Kaduna; four North-East states of Borno, Bauchi, Yobe and Adamawa; and one North Central State of Niger.

“The 12 major Poll Rigging Nigerian States also have a total of 33,86 million registered voters with 95 per cent PVC collection on average and have 35% of the country’s total of 93.5 million registered voters. The 12 States host the largest concentration of registered underage and illegal migrants, as well as imported criminal thumbprints of ballot papers.

“Apart from being no-go areas for electoral or democracy activists, especially during Presidential Polls, the 12 States are also the most boundary/border area porous States in Nigeria where ‘anything goes’ or ‘anything can happen’ during polls, particularly during Presidential Polls.”

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