*Says It’s Capturing Voting Population Of Biafrans
*As INEC Registers Under Aged In Northern Parts
The Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State Of Biafra (MASSOB) in Nigeria, has urged all its members nationwide to obtain their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) for conduct of United Nation’s observed referendum for actualisation of Biafran nation.
MASSOB, explained that the possession of the PVC would confer eligibility to the individuals to vote during the yet to be scheduled referendum for the determination whether or not the Biafran state would be formally declared and granted.
In a statement issued in Owerri, the Imo State capital by MASSOB National Secretary, Ibem Ugwuoke, MASSOB said that the decision to order its members to register for PVCs was reached in a meeting presided over by its leader, Uchenna Madu.
The registration exercise has gone beyond what the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) planned for as reports had confirmed that in Northern parts of the country, INEC officials were being forced to register under aged children of 14 and 16 years far below the official and acceptable age of 18.
L-R: INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu and an Unidentified Under Aged Voter with PVC
The INEC Director of Publicity and Voter Education, Mr. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, confirmed this on Wednesday during a programme on the African Independent Television titled, ‘Kakaaki’, while answering questions over pictures and videos on the social media showing children registering and voting in northern Nigeria.
The INEC director said, “I agree that it is the responsibility of the registration officer to do that (refuse to register underage persons), but there are times that circumstances are such that where there is present and clear danger that he risks being assaulted or being killed, I think it will be unreasonable to expect him not to succumb to the pressure. But we encourage them to report immediately they get out of that dangerous zone.”
However, MASSOB said: “for a proposed statehood of Biafra to be ordered and declared by United Nations, the voting population of Biafrans through the registration and possession of the voter card must be captured in the national demography of the existing political entity (Nigeria) from which the voting population of the coming statehood (Biafra) is seeking for a separation.”
According to the statement, “MASSOB orders all Biafrans that are constitutionally eligible to vote to immediately go for voter registration card in the nearest INEC office. That possession of the Nigeria’s voter card is not merely for Nigeria’s elections only but for Biafra Referendum as the only identification card for eligibility of the people that will determine the future of Biafra actualisation through a United Nations observed referendum.
“Boycotting voters registration and non possession of the voters card is a self inflicted decision for any future referendum on the self determination for sovereignty of a state.
“That for a proposed statehood of Biafra to be ordered and declared by United Nations, the voting population of Biafrans through the registration and possession of the voter card must be captured in the national demography of the existing political entity (Nigeria) from which the voting population of the coming statehood (Biafra) is seeking for a separation.
“That it is never an all comers affairs, even if United Nations comes in the existing mother country (Nigeria) to conduct and supervise a referendum that will determine the future of Biafra, she still has a critical role to play. The registration and possession of the voter card is for the Biafra referendum.
“MASSOB calls for review of the current voters registration exercise because the entire permanent voters registration exercise is fraudulently dubious schemed to favour only the northern region. INEC patterned the exercise to include even underaged children.
“We saw even as underaged persons of northern origin below 18 years registered by INEC for 2019 general elections. With these INEC sponsored trend of registering underaged persons from northern region, MASSOB will never allow elections to hold in eastern region in 2019.
“MASSOB still believes and anchors on our principle of non violence towards all our approaches to Biafra actualisation and restoration. We don’t believe in arms struggle, we shall abide by all the principles and charters of United Nation declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and African Charter on the Human Rights of Indigenous People.”
According to the INEC Director on the ongoing under aged registration, “Even to the untrained eye, that child doesn’t look more than 15, but in such circumstances, you cannot argue too much with them. The law says the registration officer is entitled to act on some kind of identification or birth certificate or proof of age.
“But very often, they are resisted, especially when there are lots of people there. They are challenged in a charged atmosphere and they are there without any protection. Many of them are there in strange communities which they don’t know anything about. So, there is undue pressure on them to register at this point.”