2023 Presidential Election: Intersociety Accuses Nigerian Electoral Commission, INEC Of Deliberately Shutting Out Millions Of Christians, Non-Muslims 

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The organisation claimed in a Special Analytical Report on INEC, made available that over 53 million Nigerian voters have been disenfranchised and shut out of the 2023 presidential election by the electoral umpire based on ethnoreligious grounds.

A human rights organisation, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, otherwise known as Intersociety has alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been hijacked by anti-democratic elements who are bent on destroying Nigeria.

It cited the Continuous Voter Registration exercise recently that recently ended after INEC said there would be no more extension.

In the report jointly signed by the Board Chair, Emeka Umeagbalasi; Head Democracy and Good Governance, Barr. Chinwe Umeche, and Head, Campaign and Publicity, Barr. Chidimma Udegbunam, Intersociety said the 53 million disenfranchised voters included over seven million registered voters denied biometric capturing and 20 million others denied PVCs since 2019.

The organisation observed in the report that INEC’s electoral midwifery since 2015 has been characterised by ethno-religious divisiveness and sectionalism, adding that the affected 53 million citizens of voting age that would be disfranchised are strongly believed to be mostly Christians and members of other non-Muslim population.

The report said, “Their ethno-religious percentage representation includes indigenous Igbo Christians about 40%, indigenous Northern Christians about 25%, indigenous Christians of South-South and South-West about 25% and indigenous Northern and Southern Muslims about 10%.

“That is to further say that ‘out of every five Igbo Christians and other non-Muslim Igbo citizens of voting age, four are still not captured as registered voters, out of every five Northern Christians and non-Muslim others, three are still not captured or registered and out of every five Northern Muslims, only one is still not captured or registered.

“The 31st July 2022 abruptly ended CVR by INEC was brutally skewed and manipulated on the grounds of ethnicity and religion; a third of its kind since the 2015 and this has raised a serious integrity question on INEC, especially on the Commission’s “independence”.

“This brazen incompetence and partisanship of INEC also confirm the recent shocking revelation by Abubakar Kawu Barage, a chieftain of the ruling APC that ‘they (APC and INEC) brought Fulani militants and allied civilian aliens from neighboring Sierra Leone, Mali, Senegal, Niger and Chad, etc. to rig the 2015 Presidential Election’.

“The Northern Muslim citizens were so maximally captured in the just ended CVR exercise by INEC that there are almost no one remaining, leading to capturing of millions of underage and illegal aliens from Niger Republic and others as ‘registered voters in Nigeria’.

The report further stated that going by the United Nations Population Worldometer, Nigeria’s estimated population as at August 5, 2022, was 217 million, out of which 55 percent or about 120 million represent those who are 18 years and above.

It said, “By INEC’s recently released statistics, Nigeria now has 96.2m registered voters, from 84 million in 2019; out of which 20 million have continued to be denied their PVCs or have them being destroyed by sponsored politico-religious fanatics and 7 million denied physical biometrics capturing in the CVR as at 31st July 2022.

“In other words, out of over 120 million Nigerians of voting age, only 96.2m were captured and 24 million disenfranchised; and out of 19.2 million captured as ‘registered voters’ between June 2021 and July 2022, over 7 million were disenfranchised on account of failure by INEC to physically capture their biometrics.

“INEC had at the end of the highly divisive and discriminatory CVR exercise announced that over 7 million newly registered voters were unable to be physically captured biometrically at INEC registration centers across the country.

“The 7 million affected citizens are those that registered online and others that did voter’s card transfer who have been trouping to INEC’s registration centers so as to complete their registration by being captured biometrically, but were frustrated by the Commission’s deliberately created hitches including inadequate personnel/machines and extortion.

“Instead of the Commission making provisions to get them to complete their biometrics, they were shut out and massively disenfranchised, in defiance of several calls by dozens of CSOs on the Commission to allow them complete their biometrics having finished their online registration before the close of the CVR exercise.”

The rights organisation alleged that politically sponsored fanatics have colluded with INEC to destroy millions of permanent voter cards (PVCs) belonging to Christians in various places including Abuja, Lagos and some states in the South-South region.

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