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The Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) on Monday commenced distribution of 291,332 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) across Ebonyi, Cross River and Bayelsa state in preparation for the 2019 general elections.

In Ebonyi, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof Godswill Obioma performed the inauguration at Nkaliki, Headquarters of Abakaliki Local Government Area.

The commissioner said the exercise was taking place simultaneously across the 13 LGAs of the state.

Obioma said that three groups of registrants would collect their PVCs during the exercise including those who registered before and after 2015, those who lost their PVCs, transferred from their areas of previous residency or have defaced cards.

He said that cards must be collected by their owners on submission of the temporary voter cards issued to them at the point of registration adding that the cards would not be given by proxy.

The REC urged eligible voters to take advantage of the distribution of the PVC to collect their cards noting that failure automatically disqualified the voter.

He explained that the distribution was in line with the directive from the chairman of the commission, Prof Mamud Ibrahim.

Obioma said that the cards were arranged local government by local government, ward by ward and poling unit by polling units for easy identification and collection.

“About 45,000 uncollected PVCs from previous registration which we call ‘uncollected’ PVCs will be distributed to owners in the exercise.

“All PVCs must be distributed to the owners on presentation of the temporary voter cards by the appropriate owners and not by proxy,” Obioma said.

Similarly, in Yenagoa, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Dr Cyril Omorogbe, who resumed office three weeks ago, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday that the new PVCs 65,000 being distributed in the state were over 65,000.

Omorogbe explained that the new PVCs were for those who registered in the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) between April 2017 and December 2017.

He said the cards also included the ones for those who requested for transfer.

He explained that “for those who registered in 2011, we have about 23,000 unclaimed cards; we, therefore call on people who registered then to go to their various local government area centres and collect their PVCs.

“The PVCs are available in different centres in the communities because we want to make it easier for people to claim their cards.

“The distribution is part of efforts to ensure that everybody that registered gets the PVC before the 2019 general elections.

“The commission has created awareness in the communities for people to come out and collect their PVCs. Those who are yet to register should also take advantage of the on-going registration and register.”

And in Calabar, Cross River State, Dr Frankland Briyai, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) launched the exercise at INEC Office in Calabar Municipality Local Government Area.

According to Briyai, the number represents those who registered in the state under the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) between April and December 2017.

He added that the PVCs included those who had applied for transfers and replacement of lost or damaged PVCs.

“In addition to these, we are also distributing over 67,000 PVCs that had yet to be collected by their owners since 2015.”

He assured those who registered this year and those who were currently registering, that their cards would be ready before the February 2019 election.

According to him, CVR will continue side by side with the collection PVCs, adding however, that the exercise woulld end 60 days to the general election in accordance with the Electoral Law 2010 as amended.

Briyai commended the people of Cross River for their cooperation with INEC, particularly since he assumed duty in the state in 2017.