The organisation also added that denying a significant number of eligible voters the time and opportunity to complete the registration for their PVCs would impair the right to vote of those affected and that it will deny them a voice in the 2023 elections, and lead to disparate and unfair treatment of these voters.
SERAP, which wrote in a letter dated August 13, 2022, and signed by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, threatened to pull the fee to court if it did not conform to its request inside seven days.
The civil society organisation maintained that INEC should ensure that the potential citizens who’ve performed their voter registration online are given time to finish the method in order that they are able to get their permanent voter cards (PVCs)
INEC not too long ago disclosed that out of 10,487,972 Nigerians who performed their pre-registration online, best 3,444,378 finished the method at a physical centre. This represents simply 32.8 % of finished online registration.
SERAP additionally insisted that the precise to vote isn’t simply the precise to solid a poll but in addition the precise to be given the time and alternative to finish the registration procedure in order that the precise will also be meaningfully and successfully exercised.
It additional mentioned that the act of final the gates on eligible Nigerians and denying them the time and alternative to finish their registration can’t keep accept as true with within the electoral procedure.
SERAP also said, “The failure of the applicants to complete their registration may be due to factors entirely outside of their control, especially given the well-documented challenges faced by many Nigerians at registration centres across the country.
“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP and the affected Nigerians shall consider appropriate legal actions to compel INEC to comply with our request in the public interest.
“Unless they are given a reasonable time and opportunity to complete the registration process, and to obtain their voter cards, these eligible Nigerians will not be able to vote in the 2023 general elections.
“If citizens’ chance to vote is denied, that would amount to a violation of their fundamental right to vote, just as it would be if they were prevented from casting any vote at all.”
SERAP also stressed that the alleged failure of the applicants to complete their registration at INEC designated centres is not sufficiently weighty to justify their exclusion from the 2023 general elections.
It further claimed that any proffered justifications of saving time and cost are therefore wholly insufficient and that administrative convenience is simply not a compelling justification in light of the fundamental nature of the right to vote.
“This severe vote deprivation cannot be justified by any perceived considerations of saving time, especially because Section 9(6) of the Electoral Act 2022 provides that ‘the registration of voters, updating and revision of the Register of Voters shall not stop not later than 90 days before any election covered by this Act.’
“Providing a fresh opportunity for the over seven million Nigerians to complete their registration would promote and preserve the right to vote, and ensure that legal and eligible voters are not inadvertently and unjustifiably turned away from exercising their fundamental right to vote,” the organisation stated.