2019: Southern, middle belt leaders accuse INEC of registering foreign voters

Southern and middle belt leaders have accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of registering foreigners voters ahead of the 2019 elections.

The forum also restated its demand for the suspension of Mahmoud Yakubu, chairman of INEC, pending the investigation of the underage voter scandal in Kano state.

In a communiqué issued in Lagos on Sunday, the group accused Yakubu of not releasing the report of the probe into the matter because it contained damning revelations.

The communiqué titled ‘Our case against 2019 elections preparations’ was signed by Yinka Odumakin (south-west); Bassey Henshaw (south-south); Chigozie Ogbu (south-east) and Isuwa Dogo ( middle belt).

The leaders expressed lack of confidence in the INEC boss.

The communiqué read in part: “Five clear months after the promise and prompt conclusion of the assignment by the team he set up, the INEC chairman has refused to release the report which would necessarily have necessitated a nationwide interrogation of the voter registry.

“Information at our disposal is that the report of the committee is so damning and that is the reason why he is doing a macabre dance on it. How on earth can we trust a man doing such over an issue of public knowledge to be fair on matters relating to free and fair elections that would not be in the public glare?

“We demand the immediate release of the INEC report on the Kano underage voter’s scandal and interrogation of the voter registry by a judicial commission with representatives from international and local elections observers to check cases of underage voters and foreign mercenaries before the 2019 elections. This is very necessary as INEC cannot be a judge in its own case.

“Equally worrisome is the intelligence report at our disposal that a large number of mercenary voters have been registered from neighbouring countries especially from Niger Republic under the continuous voter registration which could have been one of the reasons why the Federal Government is in a haste to construct a rail from Kano, through Dambatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina, Jibia and terminate in Maradi, Niger Republic. Money has been appropriated for this in the 2018 budget.”