The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, on Friday warned politicians against sponsoring underage persons to participate in the 2019 general elections starting on Saturday (today).
He said such underage persons and their sponsors would be arrested.
Speaking at the 5th press briefing held at the National Collation Centre in Abuja, which was also attended by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, Yakubu also asked Nigerians to report underage voters to security agencies or INEC officials.
Yakubu said, “Underage voting is an illegality because there is a statutory age for eligibility for registration of voters. But if on election day you find anyone that is apparently or conclusively underage, kindly report to any official of the commission or the security agencies.
“Working with the Inspector-General of Police, I say here that any underage person caught trying to be accredited or vote on election day will be arrested.
“Voting is only open to Nigerian citizens who are above the statutory age of 18. Underage voting is an illegality and let me seize this opportunity to warn those who may wish to sponsor underage persons to vote on election day that they will be arrested.”
After the 2015 presidential and National Assembly elections, there were allegations of underage voting in about seven states in the North, including Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Bauchi, Jigawa, Gombe and Kogi states. The two popular parties; the Peoples Democratic Party and All Progressives Congress had traded accusations over the development.
Also in 2018, there were allegations of underage voting in the local government election conducted by the Kano State Independent Electoral Commission.