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SERAP Urges INEC To Extend Voter\’s Registration Exercise Ahead Of 2023 Polls

\"Ekiti:

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow seven million Nigerians to complete their voter registration, ahead of the 2023 elections

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SERAP made the call in a statement on Sunday, August 14, by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, warning that failure of the electoral body would attract legal action.

According to the rights group, INEC recently disclosed that out of 10,487,972 Nigerians who carried out their pre-registration online, only 3,444,378 completed the process at a physical center.

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SERAP believes that the right to vote is also the right to be given the time and opportunity to complete the registration process so that it can be effectively exercised.

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The statement read;

The right to vote is not merely the right to cast a ballot but also the right to be given the time and opportunity to complete the registration process, so that the right can be meaningfully and effectively exercised.

Closing the gates on eligible Nigerians and denying them the time and opportunity to complete their registration cannot preserve trust in the electoral process.

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Denying a significant number of eligible voters the time and opportunity to complete the registration for their PVCs would impair the right to vote of those affected, deny them a voice in the 2023 elections, and lead to disparate and unfair treatment of these voters.

Seven-Day Ultimatum

The organisation further issued INEC a seven-day ultimatum before instituting a lawsuit on behalf of affected Nigerians.

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We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP and the affected Nigerians shall consider appropriate legal actions to compel INEC to comply with our request in the public interest.

Unless they are given a reasonable time and opportunity to complete the registration process, and to obtain their voter cards, these eligible Nigerians will not be able to vote in the 2023 general elections.

If citizens’ chance to vote is denied, that would amount to a violation of their fundamental right to vote, just as it would be if they were prevented from casting any vote at all.

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