Underage voters used to illustrate the story. [Photo credit: Post-Nigeria]

An in-house investigation by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has rebuffed allegations of the use of its voter cards by under aged voters during the February 10, 2018 local government elections in Kano State.

The INEC investigation revealed that pictorial depictions of childhood voters represented a “clear manipulation of images to create a “fake” story.” The investigation also revealed that images in one case presented of children voting were actually children on the queue for food in an Internally Displaced Persons, IDP camp in Borno State.

The report obtained by our reporter showed how the INEC investigation team was able to trace back the pictures online. In one case a picture published by Vanguard in March 2015 to illustrate under aged voting in Lau Local Government Area of Taraba State was again re-circulated as representing underage voting in Kano in 2018.

On the famed picture of minors who were reported to have been on a queue to vote, the commission report said that “the picture presented as “evidence” of under-aged voting in Kano was taken during the distribution of relief materials at an IDP Camp in Borno State three years before the 2018 Kano local government election.

Explaining the reason for the investigation, the INEC report deposed:

“On Saturday 10th February 2018, the Kano State Independent Electoral Commission, KANSIEC conducted elections for 44 Chairmanship and 484 Councilorship constituencies in the state. Immediately after the election, pictures surfaced on the social media of minors (persons below the statutory age of 18 years) apparently voting in the election in violation of the provision of Section 12 (1) of the Electoral Act.

“Although the election was conducted by KANSIEC which is an independent constitutional body, many political commentators immediately linked the election to INEC, arguing that since the voter register is compiled by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC it should be held responsible for the prevalence of ineligible persons (popularly referred to as under-aged) on the national register of voters.

“In view of the fact that a credible election is directly related to the credibility of the voter register, INEC set up a Committee to investigate the allegation, particularly the link (if any) between under-aged voting in the local government election and the national register of voters.”

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