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Issued: 3:00pm – Saturday, 12th February 2022

The Situation Room is observing the FCT Area Council elections scheduled for Saturday, 12th February 2022 in the six area councils. Reports from our networks of observers and partners showed late deployment of personnel and materials across the FCT. In most Area Councils, INEC officials arrived at an average time of 9.30am except Bwari and Gwagwalada Area Councils, where INEC personnel arrived on time.

Other general observations are as follows:

  1. Confusion over restriction and no restriction of movements caused by conflicting statements of the Nigeria Police issued on the eve of the election. In some places, citizens were seen queuing for fuel and others carrying on their business as usual.
  2. Adequate and early deployment of security personnel in most polling units.
  3. Malfunctioning of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) causing delays in accreditation and voting. In most places, the fingerprints did not authenticate voters and there were lots of complaints on the facial detection. Although INEC personnel reported escalation to technicians, there was a slow response to fixing the problem.
  4. Vote buying and selling in some of the polling units. In a particular instance at PU 001, Jamb Secretariat money was thrown into the crowd in the centre of the polling area leading to security personnel shooting in the air to disperse voters. In PU 001, Ministers Gate, Life Camp there was apparent vote buying and selling.
  5. Inadequate access and lack of assistive materials for persons with disabilities in most polling units. In Karon-majigi, a special colony for PWDs, we received reports of a high number of PWDs using skates and the voting cubicles were too high for these sets of voters who had to place the ballot papers on their hands to vote.
  6. A general low voters turn out and apathy in the urban areas.

Situation Room notes that voting was slow due to the failure of the BVAS to detect photos and capture fingerprints in many places.  To avoid tension that may arise at the PUs where these delays have been reported, Situation Room calls on INEC to extend the voting time to enable citizens to vote.  Special and urgent attention should also be given to the PUs where the BVAS have been slow and some still not working at the time of this statement to allow citizens waiting patiently to exercise their votes.

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