The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has withdrawn from the field, queried and replaced two of its staffers in Oju local government who allegedly demanded payment before registering citizens as voters.
In a press statement issued Friday by the Administrative Secretary of Benue state INEC office, Shehu Abdulwahab, the Commission said those actions were the immediate measures taken by INEC to arrest the ugly situation.
“The attention of the Commission has been drawn to reports that two of our staff in Oju LGA were alleged to have demanded payment of a fee before registering citizens as voters in the local government.
“The Commission is deeply concerned about the development as provisions were made to our offices across the state to ensure hitch-free exercise at no cost to the citizens.
“As an immediate measure to arrest the ugly situation, the Commission has withdrawn the two staff from the field, issued queries to them and replaced them with another set of staff,” the statement read in part.
It added that, “All electoral officers in the 23 local government area offices in the state have been directed to warn their staff to desist from extorting money from registrants before registering them.
“For the avoidance of doubt, INEC wishes to reiterate to the good people of Benue state that voter registration is absolutely free, assuring the indigenes of its commitment to serve them efficiently throughout the registration period and beyond” It also urged Benue indigenes to promptly report any observed anomalies in any registration centre to the following numbers; 08036048515, 08067842987 and 08023070215.