Council of Imams and Ulama, Kaduna state chapter, yesterday warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to use the National Identity Card ID as criteria for the 2015 General election in the country.
The council frowned at the inability of the Federal Government to provide more registration centres for the on-going National Identity card registration exercise in the states.
The council chairman in the state, Sheikh Abubakar Usman Babatune gave the warning at a press conference, held in the state.
It will be recalled that reports had widely speculated that INEC plans to use the ID card as criteria for 2015 election in the country.
The scholar, who is also the Chief Imam of NNPC Juma’at Mosque, said Kaduna has a population of over three million people and four urban local government areas but has only one registration centre located in the metropolis.
He added that majority of Nigerians, especially in the Northern part are yet to get free access to the registration exercise, particularly due to the insecurity challenges and communal crisis in the region.
“The Council of Imams and Ulama, which is the mouth piece of millions of Nigerians in Kaduna state, views it as a duty to draw the attention of the FG on this very important issue, which we strongly believe requires it’s quick intervention so as to correct the anomaly, as we see this as an international and calculated attempt to deny the majority of Muslims and northern people, the opportunity to exercise one of their fundamental civic rights to register and possess the national identification card and permanent voters card as required by law.
“Also, we later heard of a centre in Kaduna Polytechnic (KADPOLY), while the whole local government of Kudan, Soba, Makarfi, Giwa and Sabon Gari of close to three million, will only be accessible to the registration centre in Zaria local government, which an individual will spend between three weeks to one month to collect the form and get registered,” he said.
Shaikh Babantune said getting access to the registration centres has created economic, social and physical challenges to the people, which comprises of women and aged people, which have in turn created an avenue for fraudulent people to swindle money from people in the name of easy access to the registration.
He urged the FG and the agency involved in the registration exercise to as a matter of urgency, create more registration centres in every ward in order to avail all Nigerians, equal opportunity to register.