The neighboring Niger Republic’s Independent National Electoral Commission (CNEI) has blocked plans to build 21 voter registration centers.
Following social media rumors that the commission was registering eligible voters outside of the nation, this revelation has surprised many people.
On Wednesday, a Facebook user named Nche Nwabuike claimed that INEC was running illegal registration centers outside of Nigeria.
He stated that:
There are officially 21 INEC voter registration center units in the Niger Republic. Since when did Nigeria’s constitution permit elections to be conducted on foreign soil.
“Why are the mainstream media houses in Nigeria silent about this? Are they also accomplices to this madness? Shame on investigative journalism in Nigeria.”
In contrast to those who shared and retweeted the messages, a few people raced to INEC’s official Twitter and Facebook accounts to inquire for confirmation or denial of the claim.
An indignant Festus Okoye, chairman of the INEC’s Committee on Information and Voter Education, originally refused to comment on the controversy but later said it was just a fiction of the user’s mind.
If you believe him, you should travel to the Niger Republic and see if any INEC voting units or voter registration centers have been established.
So why are major media outlets listening to this rumor or misinformation? I have no idea.” It’s bad enough that social media has supplanted traditional media as the go-to place for news.
The INEC national commissioner said:
“Let those who believe him go to the Niger Republic and find out whether anything related to INEC polling unit or voter registration centers was set up.
“I don’t know why the mainstream media are giving listening ears to such rumor or misinformation. It is bad enough that social media has become the first source of call in terms of information,”
In his mind, he wondered how a random individual could hide behind the keys of a smartphone and start tweeting falsehoods.
“How can one individual we don’t know be posting that there are 21 registration centers in the Niger Republic, and people are asking us at INEC whether it is true? I won’t even respond to such a claim. It doesn’t make sense. The media should not be part of this, please.
“Why are they not even saying a voter registration center is set up somewhere in Cameroon or the Benin Republic? One individual will sit somewhere in the comfort of his room and spew nonsense. I am sure you won’t even see his profile online if you google him. And Nigerians will just be sharing all over the social media space as if their lives depend on it,”