The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum has claimed that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has embarked on illegal registration of foreigners, mostly from Niger Republic, in order to manipulate the outcome of the 2019 elections.
The Forum raised alarm via a communique issued to Journalists on Sunday, alleging that the foreigners could be the reason why the government was in a haste to construct a rail from Kano, through Dambatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina, Jibia and terminate in Maradi in the Niger Republic.
The communiqué titled, “Our case against 2019 elections preparations” was signed by Yinka Odumakin (South-West); Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-South); Prof. Chigozie Ogbu (South-East) and Dr Isuwa Dogo ( Middle Belt).
They expressed concern over the 2019 elections and restated their lack of confidence in the INEC chairman “whose conduct over the scandal of underage voters in Kano has shown a gross betrayal of public trust.”
The communique read; “Equally worrisome is the intelligence report at our disposal that a large number of mercenary voters have been registered from neighbouring countries especially from Niger Republic under the continuous voter registration which could have been one of the reasons why the Federal Government is in a haste to construct a rail from Kano, through Dambatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina, Jibia and terminate in Maradi, Niger Republic. Money has been appropriated for this in the 2018 budget.”
“Five clear months after the promise and prompt conclusion of the assignment by the team he set up, the INEC chairman has refused to release the report which would necessarily have necessitated a nationwide interrogation of the voter registry.
“Information at our disposal is that the report of the committee is so damning and that is the reason why he is doing a macabre dance on it. How on earth can we trust a man doing such over an issue of public knowledge to be fair on matters relating to free and fair elections that would not be in the public glare?
“We demand the immediate release of the INEC report on the Kano underage voter’s scandal and interrogation of the voter registry by a judicial commission with representatives from international and local elections observers to check cases of underage voters and foreign mercenaries before the 2019 elections. This is very necessary as INEC cannot be a judge in its own case.”