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INEC probes attempt to clone PVCs, sell them online

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committee, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), INEC
Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

AHEAD of the 2019 general election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Sunday, said it had identified plans by some Nigerians to clone the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and sell them online.

INEC, through its Director, Voter Education and Publicity, Uzzi Oluwole, raised this alert in a statement, following reports by some Nigerians on social media that the PVCs were available on Chinese sites.

In various tweets, Nigerians pointed to contract between a Nigerian company and Chinese partners to make available PVCs, with one Nigerian particularly stating that he accessed his own PVC on one of the Chinese sites.

One of them tweeted, “The Company you guys are looking for is ACT technologies. Small Nigerian Company with Big God and Chinese Partners. They also snatched the Card reader contract from Zinox. Was hurriedly put together before the contract and isn’t even. Registered with NCS.”

Another Nigerian tweeted, “Not to be an alarmist, please I found a post saying our PVCs are available on Chinese sites. So I went on http://Alibaba.com myself & confirmed this. I am only trying to know if this should be possible, what @inecnigeria plans to do about this and if the government knows about it.”

Apparently reacting to the fears expressed by this Nigerians, INEC allayed the fears of the electorates and Nigerians in general, promising to commence systematic hardware and software upgrade of all the Smart Card Readers nationwide.

Furthermore, the commission said “it is already working to further secure the PVCs and the Smart Card Readers and will continue to protect them from unauthorized and malicious access.

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“It is for this reason that, beginning from next week, we are commencing the systematic hardware and software upgrade of all the Smart Card Readers nationwide.

“We wish to assure the public that the Commission had anticipated these and proactively taken measures to preserve and further secure our electoral materials.

“Several security features and secret source codes are contained in the Smart Card Readers which enable them to read only PVCs duly issued by the Commission. The advertisement shows photographs of blank cards which have not been personalised and which do not contain any details.

“This notwithstanding, the Commission wishes to state that it takes these reports seriously and will engage the government and security agencies as well as the promoters of the platform in order to get to the root of it and take all necessary action to take down the advertisement forthwith.

“In addition to the existing features, the Commission is already working to further secure the PVCs and the Smart Card Readers and will continue to protect them from unauthorized and malicious access.

“It is for this reason that, beginning from next week, we are commencing the systematic hardware and software upgrade of all the Smart Card Readers nationwide.

“It is worthy of note that this enhancement had already been successfully done in Ekiti and Osun, preparatory to the upcoming Governorship elections in both States.

“We wish to reassure the public that our systems are robust even as we continue to fortify them ahead of the 2019 general elections.”

The post INEC probes attempt to clone PVCs, sell them online appeared first on Tribune.

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