Nigerians on social media had over the weekend raised alarm after Permanent Voters’ Cards, (PVCs), branded with the Nigerian colour and logo was listed for sale on Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba.
In a swift reaction to the outrage, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Sunday, said it received reports of attempts to clone Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) and sell them online ahead of the 2019 general election.
In a statement by INEC Director, Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze Uzzi, the commission said ‘the clone and sale of the cards were anticipated and measures have been taken to preserve and further secure electoral materials.”
Osaze-Uzzi added that “Several security features and secret source codes are contained in the Smart Card Readers, which enable them to read only PVCs duly issued by the Commission. The advertisement shows photographs of blank cards, which have not been personalised and which do not contain any details.”
The statement further said, “This notwithstanding, the Commission wishes to state that it takes these reports seriously and will engage the government and security agencies as well as the promoters of the platform in order to get to the root of it and take all necessary action to take down the advertisement forthwith.
“In addition to the existing features, the Commission is already working to further secure the PVCs and the Smart Card Readers and will continue to protect them from unauthorized and malicious access.
“It is for this reason that, beginning from next week, we are commencing the systematic hardware and software upgrade of all the Smart Card Readers nationwide.
“It is worthy of note that this enhancement had already been successfully done in Ekiti and Osun, preparatory to the upcoming Governorship elections in both States.
”We wish to reassure the public that our system are robust even as we fortify them ahead of the 2019 general elections.”