The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says it will deploy the Biometric Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) device in the November 6, 2021, Anambra State Governorship election.

Nigerian Tribune gathered that the BVAS, deployed in its pilot phase for the Isoko South I State Constituency Bye-election in Delta State on September 11, 2021, is a new device that replaces the Smart Card Reader (SCR) used in previous elections since 2015.

The BVAS has the dual capacity for fingerprint and facial authentication of voters, and according to the chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, this is to guard against voting by identity theft where one person uses another person’s Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) to vote using the incident form.

In his welcome address, during a stakeholder meeting on the Anambra State Governorship Election on Wednesday at Prof. Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Prof Mahmood Yakubu said that with the introduction of the BVAS device, the use of incident forms during elections has been abolished.

“On Saturday 6th November 2021, Anambra State will make history as the first Governorship election in Nigeria in which the Commission will deploy the Biometric Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) device. 

“This new device replaces the Smart Card Reader (SCR) used in previous elections since 2015. We are satisfied with the pilot deployment of the BVAS in the Isoko South I State Constituency Bye-election in Delta State on 11th September 2021.

The BVAS has the dual capacity for fingerprint and facial authentication of voters. This is to guard against voting by identity theft where one person uses another person’s Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) to vote using the incident form. With this development, the use of the incident form is abolished. No voter without a genuine PVC will vote. No voter who has not been successfully accredited electronically using the BVAS will vote.

“At the same time, the BVAS is also equipped with a camera. Therefore, it has the capacity to snap Polling Unit level result and upload same to the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal so that citizens can view results as election is concluded in each Polling Unit. Therefore, there is no need for the Z-Pad since its functions have been embedded in the BVAS. I am glad to report that all the BVAS required for the election on Saturday have been configured and delivered to Anambra State. Election duty staff have also been trained on the use of the device and we have sufficient technical staff to respond to any glitches that may occur,” the INEC Chairman said.

Also, the INEC Chairman revealed in his remarks that in designing the sensitive materials for the election, the Commission has introduced additional visible and invisible security features, including different colour codes.

“I want to assure all voters in Anambra State that in designing the sensitive materials for the election, the Commission has introduced additional visible and invisible security features, including different colour codes. Materials have also been customized by Local Government Areas and Polling Units. 

“Let me therefore warn those who may attempt to compromise the process that we have put in place sufficient safeguards to detect counterfeits. We are also determined to prosecute perpetrators of electoral malpractice, including any election duty staff found to be complicit. The choice of the next Governor of Anambra State is in the hands of the eligible voters and their will must prevail,” Prof Yakubu said.

“The Anambra State Governorship election holds in the next 3 days. As far as INEC is concerned, there are two activities left in our Timetable and Schedule of Activities.  

“The first one is the end of campaign by political parties which is at midnight tomorrow Thursday 4th November 2021. 

“The second is the Election Day which is Saturday 6th November 2021. These two activities will conclude the 14 items listed in the Timetable for the election released by the Commission about 11 months ago on 19th January 2021. INEC has diligently implemented every activity on schedule,” he added.