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Observer group urges deployment of technology, tasks NASS on electoral amendment bill



9th Assembly to collaborate with media for effective reportage

Yiaga Africa, an independent election observer group, has urged the National Assembly to accelerate the passage of the electoral amendment bill as it resumes sitting on Sept 14.

In a statement it issued on Thursday, the group said that the passage of the amendments bill would strengthen elections by legalising the deployment of technology for accreditation, voting and transmission of election results.

The statement, signed by Cynthia Mbamalu Director of Programs, Yiaga Africa, also commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for its consistent efforts at improving the quality and transparency of elections in the country.

Yiaga Africa also lauded the planned deployment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for accreditation of voters, which would enable near real-time viewing of results.

“As presented at the meeting with Civil Society Organisations, INEC shared its plan of this BVAS, an all-in-one technology which is a multifunctional integrated device that serves multiple purposes for different activities in the value chain of elections in Nigeria.

“It includes the INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED) for voter registration, the BVAS for voter accreditation on election day, this replaces the Smart Card Reader, and serves as the INEC Results Viewing Device (IReV Device) to be used for election results upload on election day,” it stated.

“We are optimistic that the new BVAS will further boost citizens’ confidence in the process and encourage citizens’ participation as we look forward to the BVAS pilot exercise in the Isoko South state Assembly Constituency bye-election in Delta state,” it stated.

Yiaga Africa urged INEC to consistently train its ad-hoc staff to build their capacity on how to use the BVAS, so as to avert any form of capacity gap in the deployment of the system.

According to Yiaga, we also call on the Commission to develop a strategic plan to periodically upgrade its system, to enhance its security and a comprehensive voter engagement strategy to educate voters on the new technology.

“This will significantly reduce or possibly eliminate incidents of multiple voting, permanent voter card buying, selling and theft.

“We appreciate the commission’s effort and it is our considered opinion that the introduction of new technology will go a long way in guaranteeing the sanctity of the ballot,” he said.

Chimezie Anaso

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