By: Sam Doak
February 21 2023
Only The Independent National Electoral Commission can issue this documentation.
Many Nigerians are preparing to vote in the country's general election scheduled for February 25. Nigerians must have a valid Permanent Voter Card (PVC) to vote. In the final days before the elections, some social media users have been advising those not in possession of this documentation to print their own.
A tweet on February 5 summarizes this advice, stating, "If your PVC is not found, Go to business center and do the needful. You have your VIN and details. Don't wait for compromised INEC again."
This tweet has now been shared over 500 times on Twitter. A similar post, which also advises viewers to print their PVCs at a business center, was posted on the same day and was subsequently retweeted over 300 times.
Under current legislation, Nigerians cannot print their own PVCs, as claimed in the viral tweet. Section 16(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 clarifies that only the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) can issue PVCs, stating, "The Commission shall design, cause to be printed and control the issuance of voters' cards to voters whose names appear in the register."
In response to queries on this matter, Rotimi Oyekan, a spokesperson for the INEC, told AFP Fact Check that the INEC is the "only organization empowered by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to register voters and print the permanent voter's card."
There will be procedures at polling locations to determine whether PVCs are genuine. Voting procedures published by the INEC make this clear. They state that on arrival, "the official (APO1) will request for your PVC to confirm that your card is genuine and your details, using the smart card reader. He / she will ask you to place your finger on the card reader to confirm that the PVC belongs to you by ascertaining, the card reader will contains the name, photograph and finger prints of all those registered in their polling unit."
According to the Nigerian newspaper The Guardian, the deadline for obtaining a PVC card from INEC has now passed. Initially, Nigerians had until January 22 to collect their cards, though the deadline was extended by a week to January 29.
Under Nigerian law, only INEC has the authority to issue PVCs. The text of the Electoral Act 2022 makes this clear, as do the reported statements of an INEC spokesperson. This claim has therefore been marked as false.