FG assures of adequate security during polls
• Civil society, SAN want public holiday for PVCs collection
• PDP alleges plan by INEC, APC to disenfranchise its supporters
THE Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, has assured Nigerians of the Federal Government’s readiness to ensure a peaceful and transparent electoral process.
And, following the challenges of production and distribution of the Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) as the general elections approach, 60 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Sebastian Hon, yesterday called on the federal and state governments to declare work-free days for collection of the cards.
Meanwhile, the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has alleged attempt by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to disenfranchise its members and supporters in Lagos State by refusing to release their PVCs to them.
Moro gave the assurance yesterday in Abuja while briefing newsmen, adding that, “despite the apprehension and the security situation in the country, Nigerians don’t have to lose sleep on the issue of safety as all is in place to take care of the anxieties.”
“The Federal Government has already mobilized the Police, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and other agencies too are ready to provide the needed security in line with their mandate during and after the elections. The government has already disbursed all the need resources, both human and material, to ensure that the process is smooth and crisis-free, during and afterwards,” Moro said.
He further assured that foreigners would not be able to infiltrate the process as the security agencies would “ensure that only Nigerians who are registered to vote will vote.”
The CSOs under the aegis of the Situation Room and Hon expressed their concerns that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has allowed the problem of the PVC to persist for so long.
Presenting the position of the Situation Room at a press conference in Abuja, the Executive Director of Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), Clement Nwankwo, said “Situation Room’s calls on INEC to immediately take steps to address several logistical and other concerns about the elections, including ensuring that the delay in distribution of the Permanent Voters Cards is resolved urgently by operating longer hours.”
“Situation Room calls on the federal and state governments to declare at least one work-free day towards the end of a week to enable Nigerians concentrate on collecting their PVCs,” Nwankwo added.
On calls for use of temporary voters card, he said “We insist that only PVC and card reader machines should be used for elections. The suggestion that temporary voters cards be used will send a wrong signal and nullify all the efforts put in place by INEC to achieve a free election.”
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh in a statement on Thursday said the party has observed that officials of INEC are working with the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state to frustrate the distribution of the PVCs in PDP strongholds as well as to non-indigenes in the state.
The PDP described the development as “unacceptable, illegal and part of the criminal plot by the APC to hold on to power in the face of its dwindling popularity among the people who are now eager to vote enmasse for the PDP.
“While we restate our commitment to peaceful and credible elections come
February 14th 2015, we will not accept any attempt to scheme us out in any state or states controlled by the APC,” the PDP noted.