The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has said that eight million Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) are yet to be collected by Nigerians.
This is even as he identified non-prosecution of electoral offenders as one of the factors hindering smooth conduct of elections in the country.
He also frowned at the non-existence of strong laws to deter electoral offenders, saying the absence of such a provision or law has allowed for an abiding culture of electoral malpractices responsible for some of the many hitches the commission has been dealing with.
Yakubu, who spoke with newsmen in Lagos at the weekend, said that only a small fraction of election offenders have been successfully prosecuted in the country.
‘One of the challenges facing us as a commission is the problem we face in prosecuting election offenders.
‘While the police can prosecute those involved in Ballot Box snatching and the likes, what have we done to the real politicians behind such practice?
‘Don’t forget again that some of our staff can also collaborate with politicians to try and upturn the wish of the people but we shall continue to plead with the relevant government agencies to strengthen our laws pertaining to the prosecution of electoral offenders.
He said the prosecution of electoral offenders was crucial to successful elections but noted that INEC neither has its own police nor the capacity to investigate infractions during elections.