The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is reportedly considering making the National Identity Number (NIN) a precondition for registering voters when the continuous voter registration exercise commences.
An unnamed national commissioner at INEC said NIN would help tackle challenges of underage voting, alien voting and other challenges associated with registration, Punch reported.
The national commissioner, who wished to remain anonymous because he was not authorised to speak, said a final decision would soon be reached.
The INEC official explained that the permanent voter card was only supposed to be in use for a maximum of 10 years, adding that most countries rely on a national database and not the Permanent Voter Card (PVC) for voting.
“The NIN is the ideal,” the commissioner reportedly said.
“When we want to begin the continuous voter registration, we may consider it because ordinarily, a national identity card is what should be used for voting.
“When the PVC was introduced, it was meant to be in use for 10 years and the assumption was that within those 10 years, the national identity card would be in use by a majority of Nigerians.
“I can tell you that the NIN will be one of the preconditions for registration when the CVR starts. We are trying to harmonise all databases.”
The Director, Voter Education and Publicity, INEC, Nick Dazang, however, said he could not say for sure if the NIN would be a precondition for registration, adding that meetings were still ongoing.
He said once a final decision had been made, INEC would officially inform Nigerians.
When asked if the NIN would be made compulsory for new registrants, Dazang said:
“When we reach the bridge, we will cross it. For now, we have not announced the date for the registration exercise to begin and the conditionality.
“When we are ready, the commission will announce the procedure for the continuous voter registration so the commission has not taken a decision in respect of that.”
There has been a surge in NIN registrations after the government ordered telecoms operators to block SIM cards that are not linked to national ID.