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Buying and selling Permanent Voters Cards is an offence and those caught doing so will face the wrath of the law

25 January 2023
Reading time: 6 minutes

Would-be voters in the Jere Local Government Area of Borno State who sold their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) for money and food are now regretting it and want them back because they want to participate in the February 25 general elections.

Baba Alaji told RNI that people disguised as political party delegates took his and others’ cards, promising them money or food, and said they would return the cards. But they had not come back, they still had the cards and the people who gave them the cards had not been given the promised money or food.

“Some PVCs were returned to their owners after the so-called delegates noted down vital information and details. We are appealing to these so-called delegates to return our PVCs so that we can cast our ballots and elect any candidate of our choice in the coming elections.”

Aisha Mohammed said: “I and many women lost the vital information contained on our PVCs when people pretending to be humanitarian workers or non-governmental organisation (NGO) officials asked us for our cards. They asked me to mobilise other women in the community and to collect the voter cards from them, telling me to write down their names, the serial numbers of the cards and the person’s ID, as well as any other key information on the cards.

“When I asked the so-called NGO officials or workers why they were collecting the PVCs and the information on the cards, they said it was to help and support jobless and vulnerable people in the community, especially women, and that would provide humanitarian aid. That’s why I cooperated with them. I support addressing any issues that concern women.”

She said they still had their PVCs but the so-called NGO officials had obtained key information and all the details contained on the cards, including their names, poling units and the serial numbers of the cards and their IDs.

“As a result, some women are still asking me for feedback and I don’t know what to tell them. These people came about two months ago and they have deceived us because they have not provided the humanitarian aid they promised us.”

Mohammed Mustapha told RNI that about 15 days ago people whom they believed were die-hard supporters of a certain political party collected their PVCs, pledging to give them “something in return”. Later they returned their PVCs but did not give the voters “a penny”.

“I really regret giving my PVC to these people because I heard that they are using the cards to cast a vote without the knowledge of the real owner. I urged fellow youths to stop giving their PVCs to anyone because, without them, they would not be able to cast their ballots in the coming elections.”

Fanna Mohammed said Oluremi Bola Ahmed Tinibu, the wife of the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), visited Maiduguri and, while she was there, a woman politician in the community collected the women’s PVCs. She said the cards had not been returned to them.

“The woman gave ₦‎2,000 to each of the women who gave their PVCs to her. I’m unhappy about this. I will not repeat this mistake again as I will continue to put more pressure on that woman politician until she returns my PVC.”

Shettima Jafar Imam, the director of the Borno State chapter of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), told RNI that the agency had urged voters not to sell the PVCs.

“Many voters – particularly women – have sold their PVCs. We have been carrying out public awareness campaigns telling people not to sell their PVCs to any supporter or delegate of any political party because it is the same as selling their constitutional rights because they cannot vote, they cannot use the card as an identity document and they cannot use it to open a bank account, among other things. The PVC card can be used for other purposes, not only to vote. For that reason, it is very important for everyone to have a PVC.

“I want people in the state to know that they should not sell their PVCs for ₦500 or ₦2,000 or any amount. The value of their PVCs are worth far more than any money.”

He had a message for those who were buying the PVCs from uneducated or ill-informed voters: “You should know that the mode and system of conducting elections have changed radically. The Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] is introducing highly advanced technology, including facial recognition screening of all voters.

“It will be impossible to rig these elections by casting a vote in place of another person using stolen PVCs. There are also structures in place that will make it impossible for hoodlums to snatch ballot boxes as they have done before. So, if you have bought or sold a PVC, do not expect to benefit. It will be a waste of time and useless – and could lead to your arrest.”

Imam said he was urging voters to respect and keep their PVCs in a safe place and not to sell them because, without their cards, people would not be able to vote for the candidates of their choice and the country would not “garner thousands and millions of votes” to elect their leaders.

Umar Sa’idu Gida, assistant superintendent of the Borno State chapter of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, told RNI that the issue of buying and selling PVCs was happening throughout the state.

“This is an offence. To avoid the wrath of the law, I call on people across Borno State to stop doing this. If they are caught doing so, they must realise this is an offence and that they face arrest and punishment if they are found guilty.”

He said the corps had recently held an event to help make people aware of election protocols and what the consequences would be if people were found buying and selling PVCs. Political party stakeholders, youths and women, members of various business associations, civil society organisations or groups, as well as media personalities, attended. The aim was to brainstorm the issues and come up with ways to create massive public awareness of peaceful conduct in the run-up, during and after the general elections.

“So, we call on the teeming youths to shun any kind of violence, such as destruction of an opposition party’s billboards and posters and fights between rival party supporters. We also urged the various political parties’ stakeholders not to use the youths as political thugs for their own selfish interest.

“For our part, we are fully prepared and highly committed to ensure peace and security before, during and after the 2023 general elections,” Gida said.



About the author

Mbodou Hassane Moussa

Journaliste de formation et de profession. Passionné par l'écriture, le digital et les médias sociaux, ces derniers n'ont aucun secret pour lui. Il a embrassé très tôt l'univers des médias et de la Communication. Titulaire d'une Licence en journalisme et d'un Master en Management des projets, Mbodou Hassan Moussa est éditeur Web du journal en ligne Toumaï Web Médias. Aujourd'hui, il est devenu Webmaster à la Radio Ndarason internationale et collabore à la réalisation du journal en langue française et dialecte Kanembou.