Kano Local Govt election: INEC committee discovers illegal thumb-printing

Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman
Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman
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The Kano Local Government Election Fact-finding Committee of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed that it is in possession of a video of “free-for-all thumb-printing by unidentified persons during the Kano Local Government election.”

An eight-man committee was set up following the February Kano council poll; after public outcry over videos and photos emerged of alleged under-aged voters and massive thumb-printing believed to have been shot during the LG polls.

In the report, part of which lawyer and rights activist, Abdul Mahmud, posted on his Twitter handle (@Abdulmahmud), yesterday, starting from 9:38am, stated that “many of the videos seen were from the LG elections in which unidentified persons were seen thumb-printing ballots in a free-for-all manner but, in none of the clips were there accreditation of voters using the Voters Register.”

On the issue of voters register, the leaked reports revealed that the Commission found out that formal requests and approval for the release of the register was done accordingly and, on the INEC register, the commission confirmed that the register was sighted on election day and affirmed by majority of stakeholders and that Kano State Independent Electoral Commission (KANSEIC) printed the copy issued by INEC, which witnessed only voting without accreditation.

Regardless, on complaints of under-aged voting, the report stated that “the committee focused on social media reports, through posts of pictures and video clips that triggered public comments on the participation of under-aged voters in the LG elections of February 10, 2018. INEC thoroughly analysed pictures and video clips and discovered that majority of them predated the February 10 KANSIEC election.

“In fact, with only one exception, they were old pictures that have been in circulation on social media between 2010 and 2017.

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On the image of three kids who were pictured dropping a sheet of paper into a ballot box which circulated widely on social media and other similar pictures, INEC found out that at the Polling Unit (Code 19/31/02/036), located at Layin Baba DARA-DARA 111 in Gama Quarters, in Nasarawa LGA, in Kano Metropolis, a picture on social media showed a group of minors dropping what appeared like a ballot paper into a ballot box, placed on the pavement, just outside the polling unit.

The findings of the committee indicated that the kids in the picture were siblings and the Polling Unit lies in the street where their family house is located.

“They were not registered voters and the voter register was not used at the polling unit. They did not thumbprint ballot papers; they were given a folded piece of paper by someone at the polling unit and told to drop it into the ballot box. They were told to pause for a photograph and later, they were excited to see their picture everywhere on mobile phones. INEC has no video of their interaction. Clearly, there is no evidence of under-aged voting linked to INEC’s voter register.”

The report stated that, there are, indeed, genuine concerns about the prevalence of ineligible persons on the register. The prevalence of ineligible persons on the voter register is a national issue that requires a national approach.
Regardless, an INEC source dismissed allegations of massive thumb-printing. He disclosed that the report would be made public on Thursday.

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