Women in the northern region of Nigeria are being forced by politicians to sell their Permanent Voters Cards for as low as N2,000, the Northern Elders Forum alleges.
Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, in his statement, purports that the PVC-buying is being done deliberately to suppress the expected votes from the region in the 2023 general election.
“Thousands, or possibly even millions of Northern voters, particularly women, are being made to surrender their PVCs for a pittance, in most instances not more than N2000.
“In some instances they are told their cards will be returned to them after they are processed for additional payments as poverty relief. No cards are returned.
“Our investigations suggest that this is an aggressive and blatant voter suppression attempt to reduce the voting powers of the North.
“We have been assured by INEC that this practice in itself will not compromise its systems and processes.
“People who are involved in this practice appear to be working for different parties, but they target communities where they assume their parties or candidates have comparative advantages or disadvantages.
“NEF advises registered voters not to part with their PVCs under any circumstances. Irrespective of which party or candidate they support, Northerners must vote in the forthcoming elections, as this is the only way our region can reverse its current fortunes and circumstances.
“To sell your card now, or sell your vote in next year’s elections is to betray your responsibility to improve our circumstances and future.
“Every Northerner should know that our voting population and turnout during elections are the only powers we have left, but we can use them to affect who will lead us at the next elections.
“NEF calls on INEC to intensify its public awareness campaign against this dangerous threat to rights of all voters to vote. It calls on all authorities to raise levels of vigilance and arrest this practice.”