Saturday, February 14, 2015 12:18 am
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Prospective voters in Rivers State have been warned not to bring cameras, recording devices or post results from Polling Units,collation centres on Social media platforms.
Mrs Thelma Iremiren,the INEC Federal Commissioner in charge of Bayelsa,Rivers and Akwa-Ibom state said as any person caught would be dealt with according to the electoral law.
She gave the warning in Port Harcourt,the Rivers State Capital during an election sensitization programmed organized by the Rivers State branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA.
Iremiren said it is only INEC that is authorised by the Electoral Act to announce results.
“As long as as there are party agents attached to every polling unit representing different political parties, voters are not required to hang around polling units after casting their votes”.
Iremiren said that in a bid to conduct a credible and transparent elections INEC has customized ballot papers and card readers for the Permanent Voters Cards,PVCs, that would identify every prospective voter’s finger prints to match biometric data of the voter.
She said once the card reader confirms the PVC of the Voter it is automatically recorded at the Database at the INEC headquarters in Abuja and the individual would be allowed to vote.
“But if the Card Reader rejects any PVC,the voter is advised to leave the polling unit and go home.In case the Card Readers fail,they would be replaced before accreditation finishes.”
She cautioned that because of the way ballot papers have been customized snatching ballot papers from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ will be useless because they are coded. Same goes for stolen PVCs,which would be useless to the criminals who hope to use them during election.
On his part,Mr Emmanuel Ukala,a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, based in Port Harcourt and reputed for litigation on Electoral Matters said that there are about 200 electoral offences as prescribed by the electoral law and described it as “Prosecutor’s Haven”.
The SAN advised the Rivers NBA to organize training for Lawyers to be abreast of the new Electoral law and how to access the INEC database for post-election litigation and prosecution.
He highlighted some examples like being in possession of more than one Voter’s card attracts one year in prisonment or an option of N100,000 fine and issuing PVC on the polling day attracts two years imprisonment or a fine of N200,000 or both.
Political parties or persons who nominate more one person for more than one elective position attracts three months imprisonment.
He cautioned that protecting ones vote as advocated by politicians to their supporters does not mean that an individual must use his body to receive bullets in case there is violence during election.
On his part,Comrade Anyankwe Nsirimovu,a Port Harcourt based Civil Rights activist and Director General of the Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law,IHRHL,said “The way INEC has modernised the voting system, it might be difficult for results to be written in hotels.”
He warned security agencies to be professional and vigilant before,during and after election because the way Nigerians will take the election would be dependent on security agencies conduct themselves.
The foremost Port Harcourt based Civil Rights activist hinted that Civil Societies in Nigeria have resolved to document names of electoral offenders that would be forwarded to the International Criminal Court,ICC, no matter the immunity they have or how highly placed they are as public office holders like; Governors,Senators, security agents or President or former office holders who aid and abet electoral violence would be pros