2023: Nigerian politicians trying to hack BVAS, servers – INEC raises alarm

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has raised alarm that politicians are doing everything possible to get into the Commission’s server or manufacture BVAS (Bimodal Voter Accreditation System).

BVAS is an electronic device designed to read Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and authenticate voters.

The Commission reiterated its resolve to make the 2023 general election free and fair, adding that there would be simultaneous accreditation and voting on election days.

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INEC’s Head of Department, Voter Education, and Publicity, Achumie Chuka Rex, stated this on Wednesday, December 14, 2022, at a two-day workshop for civil society organisations on Voter Education, organised by Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) supported by USAID.

Fielding questions from participants, shortly after delivering a paper titled: “Technology And 2023 Election Commission”, Achumie revealed that INEC is working round the clock to ensure that the integrity of its server is maintained during and after the elections.

He said, “There is no room to hack into INEC sever,” adding that “politicians are doing everything possible to get into INEC server or even to manufacture BVAS (Bimodal Voter Accreditation System) but unfortunately for them, INEC is three steps ahead of their plots”.

Allaying fears of a network problem that would make BVAS work effectively in rural areas, he said that BVAS was built on a dual basis – “online and offline”.

Delivering his paper, Achumie said, “At the moment, Nigerians are gradually bidding farewell to the dark days when the voter register was infested with foreign names and those days when election results were announced while voting was still ongoing. … the 22 innovations introduced by the electoral management body, including the IREV and BVAS, have enabled the country to move light-years away from its electoral debacle.

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“Recent revelations by Professor Mahmood Yakubu show that the Commission has conducted 105 elections using the IREV, while it has uploaded 32,985 (99.13%) out of a possible 33,275 results, having recorded 100% upload rate in the just concluded Ekiti and Osun governorship elections.

“Apart from voting, results management is easily the most critical aspect of election administration. While voting is an open and public activity, result management is usually run by a few election officials, mostly outside the glare of the public. Thus, there is a need to promote transparency in this in the best possible way.

“Other innovations that seem to have enhanced the system include biometric voter registration, computer-based registration of voters, online pre-registration, the Permanent Voter Card (PVC) with chips, creating online portals for candidates, observers and political party agents, amongst others, which have all gone a long way in standardising Nigeria’s election management system,” he said.

He expressed optimism that with the introduction of various technologies into the country’s election management, which has boosted citizens’ confidence in the process, citizens’ participation in the elections will “hit at least a 50% voter turnout mark”.

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