The electoral commission was accused by a social media user of setting up illegal voter registration centres in the neighbouring country.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rubbished the allegation claiming that it set up 21 voter registration units in Niger Republic.
This is coming hard on the heels of a widely spread speculation on social media that the electoral umpire has extended the process of capturing eligible voters beyond the Nigerian territory.
One Nche Nwabuike had alleged through a Facebook post on Wednesday, that INEC is operating some illegal registration points in locations outside the shores of the country.
He wrote, “There are officially 21 INEC voters’ registration centre units in Niger Republic. Since when did Nigeria’s constitution permit for election 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.”
A close inspection of Nnabuike’s page suggested it may be a phony account, nevertheless, his post generated some form of heat on social media platforms.
While some netizens serially shared and retweeted the post, few other camped in the official INEC social media channels, asking the commission to confirm of debunk the allegation.
According to The Punch, INEC national commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, caught a furious figure when he was contacted on the development on Thursday.
Okoye, who initially vowed not to comment on the debate, subsequently described it as a figment of the social media user’s imagination, the paper reported.
He said, “Let those who believe him go to Niger Republic and find out whether anything related to INEC polling unit or voter registration centres was set up.
“I don’t know why the mainstream media are giving listening ears to such rumour or misinformation. It is bad enough that social media has become the first source of call in terms of information.”
The National Commissioner also implored Nigerians, including the media practitioner to learn to dismiss certain rumours with a wave of the hand.
“How can one individual we don’t know be posting that there are 21 registration centres in 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 centre is set up somewhere in Cameroon or Benin Republic? One individual will just sit somewhere in the comfort of his room and spew nonsense. I am sure if you google him, you won’t even see his profile online. And Nigerians will just be sharing all over the social media space as if their lives depend on it,” Okoye fumed.
INEC has been under tremendous pressure to extend the voter registration exercise beyond the June 30, 2022, deadline following the recent surge in people who have expressed desire to register.