The Nigerian Immigration Service has asked some nationals of countries of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, residing in Akwa Ibom State to return the Permanent Voter’s Card they illegally collected from the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The call came on the heels of revelations by some of the immigrants that they were induced by some unnamed politicians to obtain the card in order to be able to participate in the forthcoming elections.
President, Togolese Community in Akwa Ibom, Mr. Innocent Keuosseh, revealed this in Uyo on Wednesday during a stakeholders forum organised by the state office of NIS.
Keuosseh stated that some of the immigrants, who married in the state, had been registered as eligible voters by their in-laws, who were politicians.
Confirming the claims by the Togolese, a Ghanaian, married to an indigene of the state, Mr. Charles Furson, added that the politicians had enticed them with gifts to secure votes in elections.
“I was given N500, maggi and salt, many of us have these cards”, Furson said.
Another Ghanaian, Mr Gideon Kwamena, however, introduced a new twist when he said some of them acquired the PVCs to enable them carry out their banking transactions with ease.
In his reaction, The Comptroller Immigration, Akwa Ibom Command, Mr. Abdullahi Garba, urged the foreigners to return all PVCs in their possession to his office for onward delivery to INEC.
Garba stressed that no foreigner would be allowed to vote or be voted for in the forthcoming general elections.
He added that foreigners in the first place, were not allowed to possess the PVC as they were not Nigerian citizens.
He added that immigration officers would be at the polling stations to monitor and arrest any foreigner who may want to vote during the elections.
“We trust that you know your role as members of ECOWAS, and you know your rights and limitations as residents of this state. As members of ECOWAS in the state, your right is limited. You are not allowed to vote or be voted for.
“You should not be seen to constitute a problem to election process in the country. If you don’t have anything doing, take rest that day”, he cautioned.
The comptroller also asked the District Immigration Officers to be on the alert and apprehend any foreigner flouting the directive of the Immigration Service.