Plateau Bye-election: Why 24,000 Displaced Persons Won’t Vote – INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission has declared that it will not print new Permanent Voters Cards for 24,000 displaced persons in Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau state.

The PUNCH had reported that the electoral body had fixed six pending bye-elections across the country for Saturday, February 26 among which are Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency and Pankshin South State Constituency of Plateau state.

However, the Irigwe ethnic nationality in Bassa Local Government Area had raised fears over the likely disenfranchisement of 16 communities and 24,00 voters in the poll scheduled for Jos North/Bassa Federal constituency of the State.

The communities were said to have been displaced following the reported attacks and killings by suspected Fulani herdsmen.

The Head of Voter Education of INEC in the state, Yepe Sylvester said, ruled out voting by those who lost their PVCs as a result of incessant attacks by gunmen in the affected communities.

The INEC official, however, encouraged them to take advantage of the ongoing continuous voters registration exercise to enable them participate during the 2023 general elections.

He said, “The Irigwe community officially laid a complaint that because of incessant crisis in their communities, about 24,000 persons have lost their PVCs. But that report came two weeks to the scheduled by elections.

“We had an engagement with the communities last week. And because they (displaced persons) have lost their PVCs, the conclusion we reached with them is that we can’t print another PVC for them for now. They complained that they are 24,000. The question is who are they? They were not in a position to say.

“Secondly ,time is of essence.You can not print cards for use in an election that is taking place within two weeks.

“The law says that without PVC,you can not vote. So,we now encouraged them to take advantage of the continuous voter registration that is ongoing against 2023 but not for the February 26 by election.”

The Head of Voter Education added that the election would take place in all the polling units used during the 2019 elections.

He disclosed that all the political parties that would participate during the election would sign a peace agreement during their final with them and other stakeholders scheduled on Thursday

He said, “We have done what we should to ensure a free and fair conduct of the by elections.”