AS the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) commenced Continuous Voters Registration (CVR), on Thursday, ahead of 2019 general election, its chairman, Professor Mahmud Yakubu, has raised the alarm that foreigners were already in possession of temporary and permanent voter cards.
The INEC chairman dropped the bombshell while inaugurating the exercise in Karu, Abuja.
Professor Yakubu, who however said the culprits had been arrested by officers of the Nigeria Immigration Service, admonished security operatives to monitor the ongoing CVR in all the 774 local government areas of the country to prevent illegal immigrants who might want to partake in the exercise.
He equally appealed to political parties, civil society organisations and media to monitor the exercise to prevent the registration of foreign elements.
Professor Yakubu, who was not forthcoming on the number of foreigners apprehended, expressed concern that their motive could undermine the genuine efforts of his commission, as he noted that the law of the land did not accommodate foreigners to register as voters and to vote in the country.
He said: “Let me state the position of the law on voter registration. The exercise is only open to Nigerians. It is illegal for foreigners to register, just as it is illegal for them to vote in our election.
“The Nigeria Immigration Service has already apprehended many foreigners in possession of the PVCs and appropriate action is being taken against them.
“I have received a number of letters containing tens of PVCs. They are quite a large number, temporary and permanent voter cards, from the Nigeria Immigration Service.
“As to the number arrested and what action is being taken, we have to contact the immigration service but as to what we are going to be doing going forward, we are going to ask our security agencies including the Nigeria Immigration Service to keep an eye on the process.
“And then you should also help us, the media, the civil society bodies, the political parties, to effectively police the process. If there is any person that doesn’t look like a Nigerian, trying to register, please draw the attention of the security agencies and we will move in swiftly.”
He also disclosed that his commission would not condone registration by proxy. According to him, registration by proxy was one of the reasons the smart card readers could not read the biometrics of registered voters during elections.
Yakubu told newsmen that he has deployed over 4,000 personnel across the country in the ongoing registration exercise.