A video has surfaced showing a staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, collecting money from registered voters before they can collect their Permanent Voters’ Card, PVC.
The incident according to the video took place at the Commission’s PVC collection centre at Emene, Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State.
We report that the development is coming on the heels of consistent denials by the top officials of the INEC that its staff don’t engage in extortion of registered voters before they can pick their PVCs.
The INEC Director for Voter Education and Publicity, Victor Aluko, had in one of the Channels Television’s Politics Today programme, described as false, allegations that its staff members were colluding with certain people to prevent eligible Nigerians from collecting their PVCs.
“Well, personally, I don’t believe so. I don’t believe that anybody is colluding with anyone to prevent eligible Nigerians from collecting their PVCs. I don’t think so,” he said.
He, however, said any of its staff members found to be obstructing Nigerians from collecting their PVCs would be punished and prosecuted.
But in the video, the staff, who appeared to be a woman, was asked by another elderly woman (a registered voter) when the commission started collecting money for PVC.
“I didn’t know that one now has to pay to collect the card,
“This is a bad impression to the public, it’s not good,” she said.
The said official resorted to abuse, asking those who weren’t ready to pay to go to the Local Government to collect theirs.
“If you don’t want to pay, you go to the local government and collect it,” she said.
On learning that she was being captured on camera, she said,
“if you video me, I will fight it out with you.
“Did you pay me for this job. God punish you.”
Recall that a civil rights group, the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Intersociety, had raised alarm over an alleged sundry extortion at collection centres, especially in Anambra, Enugu and Imo States.
The group said PVC collection exercise was characterized by reports of long queues, especially in the South-East and South-South.