…Says ABIS, AFIS, BVAS Not Credible As Advertised
…Says 2023 Elections May Be Compromised If BVAS Is Not Upgraded
By Progress Godfrey, Abuja
The Diaspora for Good Governance, DGG, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to subject its voter registration to a multi-stakeholder audit.
The non-governmental group made the demand during a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday. Chima Christian, a Public Affairs Analyst who spoke for the group said the demand became necessary owing to the high level of inefficiency of the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS), the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), and the
Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).
Christian said after a look at data released by INEC after its Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise,
the group noticed that 49.3 per cent of the total number of invalidated voters in Nigeria were recorded in the S/South and S/East. He said while other regions of the country recorded an average rejection rate of 17 per cent, the S/East and S/S had an average rejection rate of 35.2 per cent; almost twice that of the national average of other regions.
He said the group worried that with several incidences of underaged, multiple and fake registrations in the North found in INEC’s voter register, 2023 election may not be credible.
He said, “We looked at the data and INEC says it used ABIS system to do the invalidation based on the 3 criteria listed on its website – one of which is the double or multiple registrations, the second is underaged registration and the third is fake registrations that did not meet INEC’s business rules, and we looked at these systems and found that the ABIS is not as credible and as efficient as advertised. One key example to be found in the voters register that was just displayed that Nigerians saw, was multiple incidences of underage registrations, fake registrations and some of these registrations that did not meet INEC’s business rules.
“The DGG is therefore saying that with a compromised register, 2023 election cannot be credible and INEC is advertising ABIS as a software that it used to process all those registration requests. What the voter register is suggesting to us is that the ABIS software is not as efficient as advertised because that same software that invalidated 2.8 million Nigerians previously, failed to track and eliminate the multiple incidences of underaged voters in the voter register displayed.
“It is on that, that we are calling on INEC and Nigerians to subject these systems to a multi-stakeholder audit and integrity test because the only thing Nigerians know about these systems is what INEC has told us and from what we know, these systems are not working as advertised. We now know that the ABIS system, the AFIS system the BVAS are not as efficient as advertised as evident by the multiple incidences of underaged and fake registrations in the voter registration.”
Christian further said the diaspora group looked at the PVC distribution data and saw that for instance, in some local governments in Sokoto and Lagos States among others, there were complaints on INEC’s discriminatory practices of issuing PVCs to indigenes and withholding PVCs of non-indigenes.
“We are calling on INEC; if indeed it has printed PVCs, why is it distributing it according to regions, place of origin or according to the name in the PVCs?” the group queried, adding that “these are some of the technical issues that would compromise 2023 elections.”
Christian, however, noted that the group believes that Nigeria has made significant improvement in election management and electoral law since 1999 democratic experiment, but the country it is not yet a guru as it has moved from thuggery to supreme court judgement, to snatching of ballot papers.
“Today we’re in a place where INEC can technically suppress the voting of some regions and confer undue advantages on some regions as the voter registration and the PVC distribution suggests which means that INEC can technically alter the result of the 2023 elections, ” the group further concluded.
The group also called on INEC on the need to improve the BVAS software, stating that the system only records the number of concluded accreditations. “In Anambra and Osun elections, people presented validly issued PVCs and BVAS could not accredit them. INEC should upgrade the system to also capture the number of attempted accreditations so that at the end of the elections, Nigerians can ascertain both the number of successful and unsuccessful attempts by voters so we can look at the success or failure rates of the BVAS. But if we see anomaly, like we have seen in the invalidation data, then that suggests that the elections might have been technically compromised.
“So we are calling on INEC to upgrade those systems to also include in addition to the number of successful accreditations, the number of attempted accreditations, ” Christian added.