Nigeria

Nigeria: Make-up voters' registration starts nationwide

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LAGOS, 22 January (IRIN) - Supplementary registration of eligible voters for this year's general elections started nationwide in Nigeria on Tuesday, to a mixed response by the public.
The exercise organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is scheduled to last three days and is aimed at people who were unable to register during the main exercise in September last year.

INEC officials said an enthusiastic response was recorded in some states, including Lagos, the country's biggest city, and southeastern Enugu State. But in some other states, such as Rivers and Bayelsa in the southern oil region, turnout was poor.

"It's not unusual to get a mixed response on the first day of such an exercise," a senior INEC official told IRIN. "Things are bound to improve in the remaining days."

Officials said extra steps had been taken to prevent the malpractices that marred the last exercise. The registration then was dogged by persistent scarcity of materials, with INEC admitting some of its agents colluded with some unscrupulous politicians to divert large quantities of voter cards.

The chairman of INEC, Abel Guobadia, confirmed early this week that more than two million registrations had been invalidated due mostly to double registration.

Fears are rife that a rigged ballot in the first elections in Nigeria since 1999 elections that ended more than a decade and a half of military rule, might trigger the sort of violence that had in the past provided pretexts for military intervention.

[ENDS]

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