Officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission in some council areas within the Ibadan metropolis in Oyo State have been accused of requesting money to register voters on Friday, when the voter registration was concluded.
Some prospective voters, who called our correspondent from Ido council and other areas of the city, alleged that some individuals acted as agents of INEC at the council by taking money from those in the queue to hasten their registration or get access into the offices to be attended to.
One of the callers, Ismail, said the illegal agents collected money ranging from N1,000 to N3,000 from people to jump the queue.
He said, “Some of us were there from 5.30am. But some people who came later paid their way in. The INEC officials inside seemed to be working with those who collected money from people outside. While some spent hours in the queue, those who paid spent a few minutes before they were attended to. Many of those who got their Permanent Voter Cards did so by paying money. We are not even sure if the PVCs were not on sale.”
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of INEC in the state, Ayodele Folami, said there was no report or complaint of such practice.
He, however, said it was possible that some people who had no authorisation at the collection centre came early to occupy front positions and later said the spaces to others who came late and able to could afford the fee.
Folami later said, “Based on the information you (our correspondent) gave, I contacted our representatives in the affected councils and they denied such practice. We have a complaints platform for those who have issues with our centres but no one made such a complaint. We do not charge money for any of our services. It is illegal and criminal to do so.
“There were long queues and, because of that, commotions were recorded in some centres because some people did not comply with the INEC order concerning organisation but our representatives did their best within the limited time to attend to the people.
“That is not saying that we could not have had unofficial and illegal practices perpetrated by some people who sold their positions to others. That is beyond us because it did not involve any of our officers.”
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