The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has vowed that it would investigate allegations of voting by under-aged persons in last weekend’s local government election in Kano State.
Its Chairman Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, who made the avowal on Friday while speaking in Lagos, also said INEC would study the sequence of elections recently adopted by the National Assembly for next year’s polls ahead of a firm decision on the matter.
He said: “The eligibility for registration as a voter in Nigeria is clearly defined in Section 12 (1) of the Electoral Act.
“This includes citizenship, residence and the attainment of the mandatory age of 18 years.
“Recent reports of violations by under-aged persons following the local government elections in Kano State are deeply disturbing.
“It is true that the State Independent Electoral Commission had requested INEC for a copy of the voter register. I can confirm also that a soft copy of the register was made available to the state. The voter register in Kano State is the one used for the 2015 general election.
“In July 2016, INEC used the same register to conduct a State Assembly bye-election in Minjibir Constituency which has 78,210 registered voters spread across 126 polling units clustered in 11 Registration Areas (Wards).
“In that election conducted by INEC, no single incidence of under-aged voter was recorded. What therefore happened in the last local government election conducted by the State Electoral Commission? Was the voter register actually used or not?
“We wish to assure Nigerians that the matter will be fully investigated. A National Commissioner from INEC will lead a team to Kano next week involving technical staff of the Commission drawn from the Voter Registry (VR), Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and the Electoral Operations (EOps) Departments for an immediate and comprehensive investigation. We will share the findings of the investigation with Nigerians. I wish to assure Nigerians that going forward, we will interrogate the voter register nationwide in order to purge it of any possible ineligible registrants.”