The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, on Wednesday in Benin confirmed the existence of fake voter cards and fake INEC staff identity cards in circulation.
The state governorship poll will hold on Saturday.
Incumbent governor of the state, Adams Oshiomhole, alleged that the fake voter cards, copies of which he displayed at the INEC meeting with stakeholders, were procured by the opposition.
“I can confirm that the ID cards and voter cards are fake. The PIN numbers on them are different from what we have. We will make photocopies of these and give them to security officers. Those caught with them will be prosecuted and made to face the wrath of the law,” Jega told the stakeholders.
The INEC boss said polling officials had been instructed to ensure that photographs on voter cards tallied with photographs on the voter register.
“Anyone who comes with a fake card or a card that does not belong to him will be handed over to the police. We are insisting that the face on the ID card corresponds to the face on the register. We are doing our best. There will be a lot of apprehension and arrest of those using fake cards,” he said.
He said there had been deliberate efforts by some politicians and their agents to divert the attention of the commission through spurious alerts to INEC websites and mobile telephones.
Jega said that some persons had been arrested in connection with the sale of voter cards in the state.
“Photocopies of voter cards are not allowed and if a voter doesn’t have the original, he has no reason to be present at the polling booth.
“There’s no excuse for the purchase of cards. We have such information and some arrests have been made and be assured that we will prosecute them’’, Jega said.
He noted that to stop dishonesty in the electoral process, only customised boxes would be used, adding that if any box was moved from one area to the other, elections in the area would be cancelled.
Oshiomhole, who is re-contesting on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria, had drawn the attention of Jega to the existence of the fake identity cards and fake voter cards allegedly being made by some politicians to cause confusion and take advantage on Election Day.
Oshiomhole gave copies of the alleged fake cards to the INEC chairman, who examined them and declared them fake after consulting with the Edo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Kassim Gaidam.
The governor said, “We have intelligence reports that a political party with a history of rigging in this state has procured army and police uniforms to rig elections on Saturday.
“The problem with us in this country is not making laws, but complying with them. These Identity Cards are already in circulation and we leave it for the security agencies to handle’’.
He urged INEC and the security agencies to investigate and publicly announce those found culpable, adding that they must be punished.
“If these people are Action Congress of Nigeria’s members, publish their names, if they are Peoples Democratic Party members, publish their names because I do not see why these issues should be shrouded in secrecy.”
He maintained that to ensure credible poll, all party agents, security personnel and INEC officials must be in the same vehicle monitoring election materials to prevent them from being tampered with.
“They are producing these materials in large numbers, including voter cards and that is the more reason the INEC should be on the alert and make sure all these materials are rendered useless on Saturday.’’
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Maj. Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (retd.), also alleged that fake voter cards were being mass produced by some political parties to be given to people that would be imported to vote on Election Day.
“Cloning of voter cards is going on so that when the original owners don’t come they will bring people from neighbouring states to take over those cards and vote for their candidate,” Airhiavbere said.
He equally alleged that ex-Niger Delta militants had been hired to cause trouble on Election Day and urged the security agencies to take note and check them.