The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Social Action, Center for Environment Human Rights and Development (CEHRD), the Campaign for Transformative Governance, alongside other 124 groups, have urged the National Assembly to blacklist the National Communication Commission (NCC) for allegedly falsifying public information on the electronic transmission of election results in Nigeria.
According to the coalition, all the NCC officials who colluded in presenting the said false facts should be prosecuted and tried under the law.
The New Diplomat had reported that the Executive Commissioner of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr. Adeleke Adewolu who appeared before the House of Representatives raised concerns over the transmission of results electronically, stating that no system can guarantee a 100 percent shield from hacking.
Also, the NCC Commissioner of technical, Ubale Maska, told the lower house that about 49% of polling units in Nigeria are without a network by the NCC.
Maska further added that 40% are with 2G while about 10% are without network at all, noting that only 3G and above can transmit results.
But the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had insisted it has the capacity to transmit election results electronically from all areas across the country.
INEC’s National Chairman and Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Mr Festus Okoye, said the commission had successfully transmitted results through electronic means in some past elections.
“We have uploaded results from very remote areas, even from areas where you have to use human carriers to access.
“So, we’ve made our own position very clear, that we have the capacity and we’ve the will to deepen the use of technology in the electoral process,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the coalition of over 120 Civil Society Organizations during a press conference which held in Abuja on Monday, decried the great danger the falsified fact presented by the NCC could pose the nation’s democracy.
According to the coalition, the benefits of electronic transmission of votes cannot be over emphasized as it drastically reduces credibility issues associated with manual transmission of voting tallies during elections, adding that all over the globe, countries and enduring democracies have toed this line of practice.
While decring the falsified information, the group demanded that the National Assembly should blacklist the NCC officials who colluded and presented a false information to mislead Nigerians as well as the lawmakers.
The group also gave the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, a 14-day ultimatum to investigate the NCC officials and prosecute all offenders who are found wanting. They also added that the action should be extended to any other external collaborators who participated in this criminal plot.
They also urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to give assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021 until, “the deletion of the provison to Section 52(2) that requires transmission of election results by INEC to be subjected to the clearance of NCC and NASS since that fly on the face of every known norm or practice in any electoral process globally especially as it erodes the independence of INEC and will ultimately lead to electoral crises which he must not allow to happen.”
The coalition equally demanded the deletion of Section 65 which removed the powers of INEC to review results declared under duress or in contravention of electoral law and guidelines.
The names of the over 120 civil society organizations and their leaders who endorsed the statement include; Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria – Chima Williams, Social Development Integrated Centre (Social Action)- Vivian Bello, Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development – Styven Obodoekwe, and Campaign for Transformative Governance endorsed by Jaye Gaskia.
Others are; The People Alternative Political Movement (TPAP-) – Omotoye Olorode, Liberation Party – Awapetu Idowu, Health of Mother Earth Foundation – Nnimmo Bassey, Center for Accountability and Public Participation Africa – Philip Jakpor, andthe Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) endorsed by its Executive Director, Auwal Ibrahim Musa, among many others.