Ahead of the 2015 general elections in Rivers State, more than 14,000 Permanent Voter Cards have been snatched from officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission in the state.
The items, which were meant for the forthcoming elections, were forcefully taken away by hoodlums while they were being distributed during the collection exercise in the state.
Disclosing the development to journalists in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital on Friday, the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mrs. Gesila Khan, said some of the items were snatched at local government collection centres.
Khan stated that the PVCs were deposited at the local government collection centres to enable original owners to take delivery of them.
Expressing shock over the hoodlums? action, Khan said it was one of the highest cases of stolen PVCs in the country.
She, however, added that the stolen cards were useless and meaningless as a result of the introduction of card readers in the forthcoming general elections.
She promised that over 50,000 PVCs would be distributed to their owners within two weeks before the general elections, maintaining that over 80 per cent of registered voters in the state had collected their PVCs.
She said her office had received 2,990,056 PVCs and distributed about 1.8 million of them.
Khan said, ?I am appealing to Rivers people because we have lost a lot of cards. We have lost more than 14,000 PVCs and the loss is one of the highest figures in the federation. All the cards that were snatched are useless and meaningless because we are going to use a new system called card readers.
?Your cards are just like ATM cards. You take it there and they slot it into the card reader to confirm if it is yours before you are allowed to vote. So, it is meaningless if you go there with someone else?s voter?s card.
?I?m advising those of you with other peoples? cards to return them to the local government offices so that the rightful owners can collect so they can participate in the general elections.
?On the presentation of the PVC by a voter, polling officer will slot it into the card reader to confirm if it belongs to the voter. The next stage is the confirmation of your fingerprints by the card reader before you are allowed to vote.
?If you go to the polling booth with someone else?s voter card, you would not be able to vote because each card is unique and can only be authenticated by the real owner. The PVCs are meaningless to those who have stolen them.?
The state REC pointed out that apart from registration, the voter cards were now being used in banks as means of identification.