As the preparations for the 2019 general elections intensify, the Independent National Electoral Commission has read the riot act to politicians. 

The commission warned on Monday that anyone caught buying votes or engaging in acts that could have negative effects on the elections would be punished.

Speaking at an interactive session with traditional rulers in Osun State, the INEC National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, who was represented by the Osun State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Segun Agbaje, said the commission had been informed that some people were inducing voters to release their PVCs or Voter Identification Numbers.

He said the intention behind the move was to either stop the owners of the cards from voting or to attempt using the VIN to hack into the commission’s website and preload card readers ahead of the polls.

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He said, “We have introduced a partial ban on the use of mobile phones and other photographic devices by voters while in the voting cubicles. Also, we are introducing the rolling and flattening of ballot papers by voters before casting them into the ballot boxes.

“However, new methods of vote-buying are being devised. We have received credible information that some partisan actors are now buying PVCs from voters or financially inducing them to collect the Voter Identification Numbers on their PVCs. In some instances, telephone numbers and details of bank accounts of voters have been collected.”

He, however, assured the public that the commission would work with the security agents to deal with the violators of electoral laws.

Agbaje said anyone found guilty of buying votes would pay either a fine of N1m or be sentenced to one year in prison.

He added that multiple registration, impersonation and being in possession of more than one PVC would attract N1m fine or a 12-month jail term or both.

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