The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has extended the deadline of the timeframe for collection of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs).

Recall that the commission had earlier set January 22 as the deadline for the PVCs collection which commenced on December 12, 2022.

However, in a statement by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Festus Okoye, on the evening of Thursday, January 12, 2023, the electoral umpire announced a one-week extension of the exercise.

The decision was taken after the commission’s regular meeting, where the ongoing collection of the PVCs and other issues, were deliberated upon, Okoye stated.

He explained that INEC was encouraged to move the deadline to January 29, 2023, following the impressive turnout of registered voters and the surge in the number of collected PVCs across the country.

Okoye’s words: “The Commission is encouraged by the turnout of registered voters and the surge in the number of collected PVCs across the country. In some of the states, as many as 100,000 PVCs were collected in the last five days since the devolution to ward level started on Saturday, January 6, 2023.

“The Commission is determined to ensure that registered voters have ample opportunity to collect their PVCs ahead of the forthcoming election. For this reason, the timeframe for the collection of PVCs is extended by eight days,”

“Instead of ending on Sunday January 22, 2023, the collection of PVCs will continue until Sunday January 29, 2023. At the moment, the period of collection is 9.00 am – 3.00 pm daily (including Saturdays and Sundays).”

“As a result of this extension, there is a consequential adjustment of the collection by location as follows:

“Collection at the Registration Area (Ward) level is extended by one a week from Monday 16th – Sunday 22nd January 2023.

 According to Okoye, the commission has commenced investigations into allegations of extortion by officials at some of the collection centres and inducement by some unscrupulous voters to circumvent processes in order to obtain their PVCs.

Okoye’s words: “Similarly, the Commission is disturbed by allegations of discriminatory issuance of the PVCs in some locations. This is against the law. All bonafide registrants are entitled to their PVCs and to use them to vote on Election Day in any part of the country where they are registered. Resident Electoral Commissioners have been directed to ensure that no such practices occur nationwide and take immediate disciplinary action against violators,”

“For the record, the Commission has printed 13,868,441 PVCs for all new valid registrants as well as applicants for transfer or replacement of cards. Nevertheless, issuing officers should compile any complaints about non-availability of cards and forward them to their immediate supervisors for the attention of Resident Electoral Commissioners who shall compile and forward them for necessary action.

“The Commission once again appreciates the patience and perseverance of citizens as we continue to finetune our process to make the collection of PVCs easier.”

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