By Lateef Ibrahim
The Independent National Electoral Commission (lNEC) has assured that it will continue to deploy the Smart Card Reader (SCR) in all elections including the rerun elections in the Kogi West Senatorial District, the Ajaokuta Federal Constituency and Sabuwa State Constituency elections holding on Saturday, November 30,2019.
The Commission gave the assurance yesterday in a statement by its National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education, Barrister Festus Okoye in Abuja.
The statement categorically said, “The Independent National Electoral Commission (lNEC) will continue to use and deploy the Smart Card Reader (SCR) in all elections including the rerun elections in the Kogi West Senatorial District, the Ajaokuta Federal Constituency and Sabuwa State Constituency elections holding on Saturday, November 30,2019”.
The Professor Mahmood Yakubu-led INEC stated that the clarification has become necessary in the light of remarks attributed to its National Commissioner in-charge of Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, at a program organized by the Situation Room, which gave the impression that Smartcard Readers are no longer useful in the electoral process.
According to the statement, “To the contrary, the National Commissioner spoke in the context of attempts by some political interests to willfully by-pass the Smart Card Reader during elections to inflate their votes.
“They do this against the backdrop of the Supreme Court decision that the SCR is not to be used exclusively to determine over-voting.
“However, the Commission introduced the Smart Card Reader (SCR) In the electoral process principally as additional confirmatory and authentication tool to determine the authenticity of cards presented by voters and eliminate impersonation, which are serious challenges to the electoral process in Nigeria.
“The SCR is therefore designed to strengthen the integnty of the electoral process and eliminate multiple voting.
“In accordance with Section 49(1 & 2) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and Clause paragraph 10(a) of INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, a person intending to vote with his voter’s card shall be verified to be the same person on the Register of Voters by use of the Smart Card Reader (SCR).
“Furthermore, by paragraph 10(b) of the said Regulations and Guidelines: Any Poll Official who violates the provisions of paragraph 10(a) relating to the use of the Smart Card Reader shall be deemed to be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to prosecution”, it said.