Voter register: INEC requests NPC’s data on deceased Nigerians

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged the National Population Commission (NPC) to periodically avail INEC of the data of deceased Nigerians to further enhance the credibility of the nation’s register of voters.

The INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the request when he received the chairman of the NPC, Alhaji Isa Kwarra, who paid him a courtesy visit at INEC headquarters in Abuja on Friday.

He said that the Commission needed the data to remove names of dead persons from the voter register, adding that INEC had the largest biometric register of Nigerians, with photographs and fingerprint information for voter authentication.

He said in order to make the voter register more robust, INEC had been periodically cleaning it up by removing ineligible persons or multiple registrants from it using a combination of technology.

“At present, technology cannot help us to identify and remove dead persons from the voters’ register. Therefore, I wish to once more appeal to the Chairman of the NPC, in your capacity as the registrar of births and deaths in Nigeria, to periodically avail us of the data of deceased Nigerians.

“This is important so that we can use the official information from your Commission to further clean up the voter register.

“Perhaps, you may wish to start by availing us with the list of prominent Nigerians who have passed on, civil and public servants compiled from the official records of government ministries, departments and agencies and other Nigerians from hospital and funeral records across the country,” he said.

The INEC boss said the idea was to enable the Commission to easily delimit and periodically review electoral constituencies based on NPC’s figures whenever there was a new population census, adding that “this cannot be achieved without accurate population data.”

“This is partly why no constituencies have been delimited in Nigeria since the last exercise was carried out 25 years ago in 1996 by the defunct National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (NECON). Working together with the Population Commission, we are determined to make a difference this time around, just as we solved the problem of voter access to Polling Units in Nigeria.

“We have already prepared and produced a Discussion Paper on electoral constituencies in Nigeria looking at the issues more broadly, including the imperative of a new population census.

“So far, within the framework of the RA/EAD project, we have jointly covered 261 LGAs nationwide. I am aware that NPC has covered more LGAs. Going forward, we are finalising a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will be signed very soon.

Earlier, Kwarra said the NPC management was at INEC to further enhance the existing collaboration between the two commissions.

He said while NPC had not conducted population census over the last 16 years, the Commission was preparing towards conducting it in 2022, subject to the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“We have been working towards realising this objectives by delimiting the entire land mass of the country; we started in 2014 we are hopeful that by the end of October, we will complete the demarcation in all the 774 local governments in the 36 states and the FCT,” he said.