Some residents of Wushishi community in Wushishi Local Council of Niger State have accused electoral officers of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of extortion, saying they now collect N200 to capture them in the ongoing Permanent Voters Card (PVC) registration exercise.
According to The Guardian, the electoral officers in that area were collecting N200 from the residents to buy fuel to power the machine that would capture people during the exercise.
It was gathered that the people of Wushishi community were compelled to pay for the powering of the machine or they forfeit their registration.
One of the residents, Aliyu Garba, said that he paid for four people from his community so that they would not be disenfranchised.
“I am surprised that the electoral officials in our area are collecting N200 from residents before they could be captured which is against the electoral law. They told us when they started this registration that all the materials needed for it are intact,” he said, adding that “I’m beginning to fear for 2019 elections. Why are we stressing ourselves for this kind of thing.”
Another resident, Isah Ibrahim, stated that some of the electoral officers in Wushishi were not friendly and could not explain to the people why they should pay before being captured.
Ibrahim said: “The INEC officials could not explain properly why they are collecting N200 and for that reason alone, most of us boycotted the registration exercise.”
Reacting to the accusations when contacted, the Niger State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. Samuel Egwu, said: “I have never heard of it because it is not part of our process.
“We will not encourage this kind of matter to happen and if we find it to be true, we will bring the perpetrators to book. The right of citizens to register for their PVC can never be taken for granted.”
According to him, any electoral officer extorting money from people in the name of registration will be made to face the wrath of law.