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Published On: Tue, Aug 21st, 2018

Extortion scandal mars extended voters’ registration exercise in Delta

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Osakhare Erese, Asaba

Appalled by the frustration and inconvenience encountered by voters in the recently extended Continous Voters’ Registration exercise by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) across Delta State, is currently creating tension and fear of the unknown, especially the alleged extorting act by INEC officials.
Some of the electorates who spoke to our reporter, one of them, Patience Ijeweh said: “INEC lacks the requisite manpower and machinery to discharge its duties even official cash in the opportunity to extort money from us before they can attend to us, they ask for N500, 000 recharged cards or you will not be registered”.
A religious leader who preferred not to be mentioned in print, alleged that “the exercise is a fraught with, irregularities” stressing that some INEC Officials chose to attend to their relatives, or cronies at the expense of a first come first serve basis.
At Umuagu centre, it was observed that there was a large crowd, and many of the electorates were willing to give out token to ensure they were registered on time, while those who do not believe in giving out token under excruciating brief sum were seen struggling to be registered.
In the same vain, Paul Osigwe who claimed to have been struggling to register, but to no avail, lamented the alleged lack of logistics which had left the people to suffer in the cause of their civic duty, adding that only 150 persons were” qualified for attention by INEC, despite the over 1,000 persons in attendance.
Mrs. Ngozi Sunday, an electorate who spoke to our reporter condemned the attitude of security personnel in the crowd management, pointing out that it was most uncivil even as she accused INEC officials of soliciting bribes for people to gain entry into the premises.
But in a swift reaction, Administrative Secretary INEC, Delta State Mrs. Oriana Anthony who spoke to our reporter said: “the electorates are just giving INEC officials a bad name, it’s not true our officials are extorting electorates, everybody wants to be registered at the same, thereby breaking the rules of not staying in queue, we have not seen any of our officials in such manner, and we believed that their allegations were just cheap blackmails”.
Despite the extension of the registration exercise, despite measure employed by some members of the public to register, or collect their PVCs, some willingly offered money to the demanding INEC officers, and even disguised NYSC members so as to be given special privilege.
Meanwhile, following challenges and frustrations, trailing the ongoing voter’s registration exercise in Delta State and other parts of the country, some persons of voting age have raised alarm that the Independent
National Electoral Commission (INEC) might deny them their voting rights in the 2019 general elections if such challenges are not tackled.

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