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Sunday, December 4, 2022

INEC blames population growth, inadequate polling units as cause of electoral violence

The Independent National Electoral Commission on Monday at the start of a two-day workshop for Electoral and Assistance Officers expressed concern over the level of electoral violence in Nigeria.

INEC blamed it on population growth and inadequate number of polling units.

“The current 119,973 poling units, which were created since 1996, have been the voting stations up until  2019 General Election,’’ INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Katsina State, Jibril Zarewa  said.

He added “This is in spite of increase in voter population from 53 million in 1999 to 85 million in 2019.’’

Over the years, several challenges have confronted INEC with regard to polling units as a result of population growth, demographic shifts, growth of new settlements and expansion of towns and villages.

“These make the existing polling units to become inadequate.”

“Many of the polling units are overcrowded during elections; that brought delays, disruptions, violence and voter apathy.”

“Voter access to polling units is fundamental to our elections and to democracy,’’ Zarewa said.

The locations of some polling units also make access very difficult, particularly for persons living with disabilities,’’ he added.

There were 4,902 pulling units in Katina State that provided for 2.7 million voters in 1999. In 2019, the number of voters increased to about 3.3 million.

This informed the creation of additional 1,750 voting points in the state to bring the total number of voting centres to 6,652 to reduce crowd, Zarewa said. INEC would begin “Continuous Voter Registration’’ on June 28 to enable those eligible to obtain the Permanent Voter Registration Card,” he added.

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