The Independent National Electoral Commission on Tuesday said the estimated three million Internally Displaced Persons would participate in the 2023 general elections.
The commission added that it will display voter register across the country once it completes the ongoing Automated Biometric Identification System to weed out all double/multiple as well as ineligible registrants.
The commission’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, stated these in Abuja at a stakeholders’ meeting on the 2022 Revised Framework and Regulations for Voting by IDPs.
Yakubu explained that the revised framework had taken into consideration several developments since the last review and validation in 2018.
He said, “The policy was to ensure that no eligible Nigerian is left out of the electoral process on account of displacement, disability or other circumstances that may limit citizens’ participation in the electoral process.
“One of such developments is the increased number of IDPs as a result of widespread insecurity nationwide.
“Secondly, to incorporate not only the displaced citizens arising from armed conflicts but also natural emergencies such as flooding.
“Thirdly, to align the framework with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, specifically Section 24(1) which empowers the Commission to ensure that, as far as practicable, no Nigerian is disenfranchised on account of displacement by emergencies. Finally, to align the framework with the national policy on internally displaced persons 2021.”
Yakubu stressed that beyond these, there was also a need for robust collaboration with stakeholders for voter education and sensitisation of IDPs.
He, however, denied the claim by a coalition of Civil Society Organisations that the commission had violated Section 19(1) of the 2022 Electoral Act, which spells out how voters’ registration should be displayed across the country.
Yakubu said INEC has not fixed a date for the activity in question and when it is time, it will do the needful to the letter.
He said, “We wish to assure Nigerians that the Commission will display the comprehensive register in all the 8,809 wards and 774 Local Government Areas/Area Councils nationwide as envisaged in Section 19(1) of the Electoral Act 2022.
“This will integrate fresh voters registered under the last CVR exercise into the existing register of over 84 million voters. The date will be announced as soon as the commission completes the ongoing Automated Biometric Identification System to weed out all double/multiple as well as ineligible registrants. We appeal to some of our friends in civil society to be guided accordingly.”