The House of Representatives has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to extend the deadline for continuous voter registration by 60 days.
The House, as a sequel to a motion moved by Ben Kalu (APC, Abia) Wednesday, resolved that INEC should extend the deadline from the current June 30.
Consequently, the House directed the House Committee on Electoral Matters to liaise with INEC on the extension.
In the past couple of weeks, there has been a surge in the number of persons registering for PVC.
With the last-minute rush, there have been reported cases overwhelming INEC staff.
Security for INEC staff and voters has also been an issue. In the South-east, unknown gunmen have attacked INEC offices and killed a staffer of the Commission.
Moving the motion, Mr Kalu said a large number of unregistered voters willing to be registered has led to congestion of various registration centres.
He expressed concerns about the reports of a shortage of registration machines in some places in the country.
“If nothing is done to improve the shortage of voter registration equipment and extend the deadline for voter registration, millions of Nigerians will be disenfranchised, thus jeopardising the integrity of the 2023 general elections,” he said.
Speaking on the motion, Yusuf Gagdi (APC, Plateau) warned that a long extension could affect INEC’s preparation for the general election.
He, therefore, moved an amendment for 30 days extension, but the amendment was not seconded by anyone.
Also speaking on the motion, Isiaka Ibrahim (APC, Ogun), said there is no reason INEC should have a deadline. He argued that registration should continue to point of the election.
But Mr Isiaka’s argument was countered by the Speaker that the electoral body is only complying with the Electoral Act.
To this end, INEC was urged to deploy an additional 30 voter registration machines in each local government area, train and deploy ad-hoc staff to improve the shortage of manpower at registration centres and provide security for the ad-hoc staff.
The House mandated the Committee on Electoral Matters to engage INEC to examine and proffer solutions to the shortage of registration machines and manpower.
The committee is to report back to the House in two weeks. (PREMIUM TIMES)