BY: MOHAMMAD LAWAL MAIKUDI
Due to security challenges in Katsina State, 357 Polling Units (PUs) would be moved to safer areas, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said.
INEC said the decision is to ensure that all Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the state are allowed to cast their votes during the 2023 elections.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Prof. Ibrahim Yahaya-Makarfi made this known during a stakeholders’ forum on Friday in Katsina.
He explained that the Electoral Act 2022 has made clear and explicit provisions for the conduct of elections in emergency situations.
“In specific terms, Section 24 of the Electoral Act 2022 provides for the commission for as far as practicable to ensure that no persons displaced as a result of an emergency is disenfranchised.
“We will, therefore, ensure that as far as is practicable, we would provide every eligible voter with the opportunity to exercise his franchise as provided by the law.
“We have been working closely with stakeholders and security agencies in constant evaluation of the situations in areas facing security challenges for strategic approach.
“We will ensure successful conduct of free, fair, credible poll free from intimidation or molestation,” he said.
He, therefore, called on Nigerians who have registered but did not collect their Permanent Voter Card (PVC) to do so, stressing that “No PVC no election”.
He said that the commission has created a timeline for the collection of the PVCs throughout the 34 local government areas of the state.
INEC’s Head of Operations, Alhaji Hussain Jafar explained that 12 of the 34 LGAs had been identified with security challenges.
“And out of the 361 Registration Areas (RAs), there are 73 with security challenges, and finally, out of the 6,652 PUs, there are 357 with security challenges.
“All the necessary procedures for the relocation of the affected PUs have been provided and the commission has received some of the non-sensitive electoral materials,” he said.