The Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) in Benue says it is working with the security agencies to recover Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) that were unlawfully collected and hidden by politicians across the state.
Dr Nentawe Tilwatda, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Benue, said this on Saturday in Makurdi during an interactive session with journalists, political parties and civil society organisations toward ensuring peaceful 2019 polls in the state.
Tilwatda said the commission discovered about 1,300 of such voters cards hidden in two locations in some local government areas of the state.
He said such cards were obtained from owners under various pretexts, one of which was to help process fertilizers or other scarce commodities and deliberately kept them away from their owners.
“They plan to mop up voters cards to disenfranchise electorate in places where they are not strong,” said the INEC boss.
He, therefore, appealed to voters not to surrender their voters cards to politicians or sell them to anyone.
The INEC commissioner denied claims that the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue did not hold its governorship primaries.
“The APC held primaries by consensus, I was given a letter of consensus endorsed by all aspirants. That was what I relied on to do my report. Yes, the primaries was shifted a couple of times but they eventually held it. This I can testify,” he said.
He said the commission was yet to compile a list of candidates vying for elective offices because the window for substitution was still open to political parties.
In a remark, INEC National Commissioner overseeing Benue, Enugu and Anambra, Mr Festus Okoye, said the commission had evolved strategies in ensuring the credibility of the 2019 polls and charged stakeholders to support the efforts by reporting malpractices.
“We have been creative and innovative to enhance the Card Reader to be faster, effective; all our vehicles conveying sensitive materials have been tracked and we will demobilize vehicles attempting to divert materials to other locations,” the INEC boss said.(NAN)