Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, has assured Nigerians that its database is well fortified and cannot be hacked, contrary to a recent allegation by the Department of the State Security Services (DSS).
The INEC Chairman made the assertion on Saturday during a Town Hall meeting hosted by BBC Media Action’s “Talk Your Own radio” programme, held at Protea Hotel, Asokoro, Abuja.
According to an INEC bulletin released late night on Saturday, the INEC Chairman, who answered various questions from participants said: “I can tell you from our own integrity test and from our own knowledge of the security features that we put in place, it is virtually impossible to hack into our system. It does not stop people from trying but we believe they will not succeed. Hacking is possible if your data is online; our data is not online”.
When asked on the possibility of a staff member compromising the data, Jega replied: “We have taken stringent measures to ensure our data cannot be compromised even by our staff, but if for any reason somebody succeeds in compromising our data, we can know who it is very easily. We have checks and balances”.
While admitting that there have been challenges in the production and distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), Jega cleared the air on INEC’s preparedness to conduct the February polls due to such challenges.
He said: “There are challenges associated with the production and distribution of the PVCs, but these challenges are not sufficient to reach the conclusion that INEC is not prepared to conduct the 2015 general elections. We feel confident that before February 14th, when the first in the series of elections will take place, every person who has registered will have his card produced and made available for collection. And so we cannot use the issue of card as a measure of if INEC is prepared or not for the election”.
He added: “From our own assessment we are ready to conduct the 2015 general elections. There are many indicators of preparedness; yes voters need to have their cards to be able to participate in the election. But it takes two to tango. If we produce the cards and make them available and people do not go to collect them, can INEC be blamed for that?”
He used the opportunity to re-emphasise the Commission’s stand on the use of only PVCs and Card Readers for the February polls, which he said will check fraudulent tendencies and improve the integrity of the elections.