The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced on Friday that it would relocate some polling units in Katsina State for security reasons.
Prof. Ibrahim Yahaya-Makarfi, the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), confirmed this today, noting that the commission had identified some areas under security threat and would thus provide safer locations as polling units replacements.
The state REC stated at a stakeholders forum in Katsina that 357 Polling Units (PUs) would be affected.
Yahaya-Makarfi also stated that relocation was required in order for all Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the state to vote in the upcoming 2023 general elections.
He explained that the Electoral Act 2022 includes explicit and clear provisions for conducting elections in emergency situations.
The electoral official said:
In specific terms, section 24 of the electoral act 2022 provides for the commission for as far as practicable to ensure that no persons displaced as a result of an emergency is disenfranchised.
We will therefore, ensure that as far as is practicable, we would provide every eligible voter with the opportunity to exercise his franchise as provided by the law.
We have been working closely with stakeholders and security agencies in constant evaluation of the situations in areas facing security challenges for strategic approach.
We will ensure successful conduct of a free, fair, credible poll free from intimidation or molestation.
As a result, Yahaya-Makarfi urged Nigerians who had registered but had yet to collect their Permanent Voter Card (PVC) to do so, emphasizing that “No PVC, no election.”
He stated that the commission has established a timetable for collecting PVCs across the state’s 34 Local Government Areas (LGAs).
Earlier in his presentation, Alhaji Hussain Jafar, the commission’s Head of Operations, stated that 12 of the state’s 34 LGAs had been identified as having security challenges.
And out of the 361 Registration Areas (RAs), there are 73 with security challenges, and finally, out of the 6,652 PUs, there are 357 with security challenges.
All the necessary procedures for the relocation of the affected PUs have been provided and the commission has received some of the non-sensitive electoral materials.