Double registration: We’ve removed 16.5m voters from our records – INEC…Says facial, fingerprints identification’ll be used for 2023 polls

The chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has disclosed that a total of 16.5 million voters had been removed from the Commission’s voters’ list over double registration.

The development, which he said, was done to ensure that the voter register keeps getting better, according to him, occurred between 2011-2015 2015-2019.

He declared that facial and fingerprints identification would, therefore, be used during the 2023 elections, adding that the new identification method would guarantee a free, fair and credible election.

He stated this in Abuja on Thursday while presenting a paper at the Blueprint’s 10th Anniversary/Impact Series Awards.

Prof. Yakubu, was was represented by the director of ICT, Chidi Nwafor, said INEC had ensured that the voter register “keeps getting better and better as observed inefficiencies are dealt with.”

“Between 2011 and 2015, optimisation processes led to a cleanup that necessitated the removal of over 15 million records due to de-duplication and not meeting set business rules; between 2015 and 2019, a total of 15.7 million registrations took place, with one million records removed due to de-duplication processes.

“Every human being therefore has certain features that makes up his/her digital identity, which makes every human unique and digitally different from another; a bimodal biometrics authentication system uses two biometric features to identify a person; INEC is using both facials and fingerprints identification system for voter authentication – come 2023 – using tablet computers,” he said.

The INEC boss said further that a law should be made to support technology, rather than being a barrier and called for “public enlightenment and more stakeholder engagements because having a free, fair and credible election, which is devoid of rigging, is a collective duty of all Nigerians.”

The stakeholders, according to the chairman, were the voters, political parties and politicians, civil society organisations, the media, security agencies, INEC and its staff, amongst others.

He also highlighted areas technology could not be applied, especially those beyond the reach of the Commission to include “political party primaries and selection of candidates, disruptions to normal voting and results collation processes, security of men and materials as well as vote “buying” and “selling.”

On overcoming the challenges of technology and data security, the INEC boss said the Commission “is keen at ensuring the security of its data, networks and other infrastructure.”

He added that “several attempts have been made on INEC’s sites, portals, etc; and more will be made, especially as INEC deploys more of its infrastructure online to serve the people better.”