The Independent National Electoral Commission has advised prospective voters across the country to handle their Permanent Voter Cards with care, so as to avoid being disenfranchised in the upcoming general elections.
The Edo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Mike Igini, who stated this on Saturday in Benin, the state capital, explained that the cards were embedded with electronic chips, which could be deactivated, if not properly handled?
According to the REC, a disturbing trend had come to the notice of the commission, whereby some owners of PVCs had made holes on them to serve as key holders.
“The PVCs we have distributed have electronic chips embedded in them, which carry important data, including the biometric and other information about the bearer.
“We have heard that some people have punctured the edges of their cards to make them like key holders and this is unfortunate. They must not do that because they may destroy the integrity of the PVCs and deactivate them”, he said.
Mr. Igini also warned against keeping the cards together with devices, such as mobile phones, which emit electromagnetic waves, as such could make the PVCs lose their unique features.
He added, “It is best to take precautionary measures, as electromagnetic waves have been known to occasionally de-activate other chip-bearing cards. And, of course, they should be kept away from fire, and corrosive chemicals for obvious reasons.
“Similarly, one must advice holders of PVCs, that some of you refer to as owners, that the proprietary right of the PVCs still belongs to INEC, hence they should take good care of them”.
While restating that the PVCs would be of no use, except in the hands of their rightful owners, Mr. Igini noted that the commission had so far distributed 1,190,653 PVCs to eligible voters in Edo, representing 66.9 per cent of the 1,779,738 registered voters in state.
Igini said, “The card reader, which will be used to authenticate each voter before they will be issued ballot papers reads the card data, confirms if the voter is in the right polling unit and then confirms whether the information in that card matches the fingerprint of the person who presents the card.
“Those who have wisely heeded this advice in Edo State have even assisted us in retrieving some snatched PVCs because, as I told them, even if I throw all the PVCs in the street for anyone to pick, they will be useless unless they match the biometric and other data for the bearer”.