Cross River State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Frankland Briyai has revealed that all security agencies such as the Nigerian Immigration Service, DSS and relevant government agencies are doing everything to assist the commission prevent Cameroonian refugees and aliens in the state from participating in the on-going voter registration.
The REC, who was speaking in Calabar during the monthly meeting of association of heads of federal establishments in the state, said the stringent measures involving intelligence gathering and sharing with the commission were being carried out to prevent some of the refugees who are living among Nigerians in various towns and cities within the state from registering.
He disclosed that at least 78,539 voters had so far been registered in the state, while 16, 6944 PVCs have been distributed and 5,344 PVCs have not been collected since 2015.
Briyai also said all ad-hoc staff to be used by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Cross River State for the conduct of the 2019 elections would swear to an oath of neutrality.
According to him, it was necessary to remind them that they would be used by INEC as Supervisory Presiding Officers (SPOs) during the elections and appealed to them to ensure absolute neutrality during the polls.
“All ad-hoc staff are going to swear to an oath of office and this is because we want to ensure that the coming elections are different in every respect. INEC uses staff of federal establishments because they are believed to be more neutral and have broader horizon, having come from other states of the federation.
“I am appealing to all election officials, including the federal government staff not to compromise in carrying out their election duties. They should respect all the ground rules so that there can be outcomes that represent the will of the people. This is INEC's main objective for using unbiased officials like you to conduct elections,” the REC said.
Meanwhile, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mba Ukweni, says officials of the INEC who registered under aged people should be prosecuted for corruption.
According the Calabar-based lawyer, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-corruption agencies should prosecute all those involved in the illegal act.
“INEC officials who indulged in registration of under aged people should be brought to book and prosecuted for corruption. The age of voting is 18. It is wrong for INEC officials to go to the extent of registering under aged people.
“This is part of corruption. Corruption is not just somebody taking money; anything that is done improperly in order to pervert the proper course of a thing is corruption. Registration of under aged people is corruption, so it should be investigated,” he said.