The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has dismissed speculations that the National Identity Number (NIN) was a prerequisite for registration by prospective voters, saying it was only one of the means of identification provided for, under Section 10 Sub-Section 2 of the Electoral Act.
INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, made the clarification while fielding questions from journalists in Abuja on Thursday.
Yakubu said that NIN was only a means of identification for registration as listed in the Electoral Act.
He said: “I want to make this important clarification. NIN is not going to be made mandatory for voter registration.
“This is for a simple reason that we are operating on basis of the law establishing INEC.
“Section 10 of the Electoral Act lists identifications to be presented by prospective registrants for the purpose of voter registration to include birth certificate, national passport, national identity card.”
The INEC Chairman said the list also included a driver’s licence or any other document that would prove the identity and age of the applicant.
He said that the NIN card was only one of the means of identification provided for, under Section 10 Sub-Section 2 of the Act.
The Chairman clarified: “We cannot single that out and make it mandatory. All the other requirements are requirements of the law and we must apply the law appropriately.
“If you have your national ID card we will register you on presentation of the card, but we will not make it a mandatory means of identification for the exercise.
“Since the law, the Electoral Act, does not make it mandatory, it is only one of the many means of identification required.”
Yakubu also said that INEC had announced June 28 for the resumption of its suspended Continuous Voter Registration across the country, with new technology.
He said that the commission would replace its Direct Data Capture Machine introduced in 2011 for voter registration with a new technology called, INEC Voter Enrolment Device.
The INEC boss explained that with the new innovation, prospective registrants could only apply and go to the nearest registration centre for data capturing to complete the exercise.
Yakubu further said provision had been made for extra registration centres across the country to avoid overcrowding at registration points for those that want to do physical registration.
On the COVID-19 pandemic, he said that 1,000 registration centres had been added to the existing 1,446 for the exercise to reach as many people as possible.
He, however, reminded prospective registrants that it was an offence to register more than once, saying, “Citizens should register only once.”