By; RAYMIND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos
At least over 1.4 million Permanent Voters Card (PVC) remain unclaimed in Lagos, the State Resident Electoral Commissioner Mr. Sam Olumekun has said.
Speaking Wednesday at the end of an Inter-Agency Consultative forum on election at the Lagos State police Command headquarters, Olumekun said the commission recorded a total number of 6,609,115 registered voters between April 2017 and August 2018.
According to him, the number of unclaimed PVC’s in Lagos alone was alarming and that the commission would do everything within its power to encourage owners to come forward.
His words, “Today, the inter agency consultative forum on election security in Lagos State has met and has devised new strategies of tackling new issues that will arise during the conduct of election.
The meeting has been very productive and we want to tackle current issues that are on ground in the conduct of elections. Let me first assure you that INEC is on ground fully and determined more than ever before to conduct an election in February 2019 that will be better than whatever we have done before.
“We are going to improve on our strategies. This is why we are here to meet with security chiefs in Lagos state under the umbrella of inter-agency consultative forum. In the past few months, some activities have taken place including the continuous voters registration exercise, which we undertook from April 2017 to August 2018. Lagos State recorded additional 786, 839 new registrants. This figure has been collated and it is the authentic figure.
Presently, this brings us to a total number of registered voters as 6,609, 115 million registered voters. The meeting considered the issue of uncollected permanent voters cards.
This is a big issue for us and we have brainstormed about it and very soon we will be conducting expanded stakeholders meeting where we would take input from stakeholders so that we can arrive at policies that would help us at the collection of PVC’s.
“The point is that we are not distributing PVC’s, the owners of these PVC’s have to collect them. We implore all concerned stakeholders to urge all to collect their PVC’s at the local government offices for their own use.
We are looking at possibilities of going to the lower level and possibly go to the registration areas at all level to distribute these cards.”
Also speaking at the occasion, the Commissioner of Police Lagos Command Edgal Imohimi said the comand is working round the clock to ensure the 2019 election is safe, free and peaceful.
” We considered issues as it relates to the activities before during and after the election to ensure that 2019 election is safe, free and very peaceful.
We have resolved to update the list of flash points and hot spots in Lagos. This would involve the local government chairmen and other stakeholders, we intend to carry out overt and covert activities both on land and on water which would also include aerial surveillance with RRS surveillance choppers to ensure that we keep the state safe and free of hoodlums before the election.
We intend to continue briefing the media regularly to ensure we have violence free 2019 election. This would also include joint security operation with other agencies particularly the immigration at this stage to ensure we identify foreign elements that are not supposed to be in possession of PVC’s.
Generally, we would also ensure that all unoccupied and under-policed areas in the state are taken over by security agencies ahead of the election.
Let me assure Lagosians that the 2019 election would be very peaceful; we would not hesitate to deal with anybody”.
He however advised .all stakeholders inciuding party chieftains to counsel their children, wards to stay off thuggery, warning that anyone who wants to tamper with security during the period would have the security agencies to contend with.