Posted by Garba Ahmad, Kaduna | 5 September 2014 | 3,299 times
The Council of Imams and Ulama, Kaduna State Chapter, has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to use the National Identity Card as a criterion for election.
Addressing a press conference in the state capital, Chairman of the association, Sheikh Abubakar Usman Babatune, lamented that in Kaduna metropolis, with a population of over 3,000,000 people and four urban local governments, has only one registration centre, which is located in the federal secretariat.
He urged INEC not to attempt using the ID Card for the 2015 elections as being speculated as majority of Nigerians, especially in the North, are yet to get free access to the registration centres, not forgetting the insecurity challenges and communal crises afflicting some state in the North.
Said Sheikh Babatune: “The Council of Imams and Ulama, which is the mouth piece of millions of Nigerians in Kaduna State, find it as a duty to draw the attention of the FG on this very important issue which we strongly believe requires government’s quick intervention so as to correct the on-going abnormalities as we see this as an intentional and calculated attempt to deny the majority of Muslims and northern people the opportunity to access one of their fundamental civic rights to register and posses the National Identification Card and Permanent Voters Card as required by law.
“The FG had introduced the new NIC and urged Nigerians to obtain one as a means of identity, but to the council’s surprise, the whole of Kaduna metropolis which comprises four urban local governments with more than three million people was given only one registration centre located at the federal secretariat and later we heard of a centre in Kaduba Polytechnic (KADPOLY), while the whole local governments of Kudan, Soba, Makarfi, Giwa and Sabon Gari of close to three million will only be accessible to the registration centre in Zaria local government which an individual will spend between three weeks to one month to collect the form and get registered.”
Sheikh Babatune said the inaccessibility of registration centres has created economic, social and physical challenges to the people, especially women and the aged, which has, in turn, created an avenue for fraudulent people to swindle money from people in the name of easy access to the registration centres.
He urged the federal government and the agency involved in the registration exercise to as a matter of urgency create more registration centres in every ward in order to avail all Nigerians equal opportunity to register.
The council also called on Muslims and northerners to ensure that they register and obtain both the national identification and voter cards, which he said is their civic responsibility.
•Photo shows INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega.
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