IT Experts Raise Alarm Again Over INEC’s Court Application To Reconfigure BVAS
Plans by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System has been resisted by some IT experts.
The experts said INEC’s decision to approach the Court of Appeal in Abuja, for an order varying the permission the court had previously granted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP) to inspect materials used by the commission in the conduct of the February 25 presidential election would tamper with evidence and compromise pending litigation.
The Court of Appeal presided by Justice Joseph Ikyegh had last Friday, permitted Atiku and Obi to inspect, “All the electoral materials used in the conduct of the election for the office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria held on February 25, 2023.” The court also permitted Atiku and Obi to do electronic scanning and/or make photocopies of Voter’s Registration and ballot papers used in the presidential election.
The two presidential candidates were also allowed to “carry out digital forensic inspection of BVAS machines used for the conduct of the February 25” presidential election. While the electoral commission claimed that the order will help them reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) used in the presidential election before deploying them for the March 11 governorship and state Houses of Assembly polls, some IT experts who spoke to ThisDay said granting the order would allow the electoral body to tamper with the evidence and compromise the pending litigations on the controversial poll and further worsen the credibility of the entire process.
They also maintained that INEC does not need to reconfigure the BVAS ahead of the gubernatorial and the states’ houses of assembly polls. While no date was fixed for hearing of the application, an INEC source who spoke to the publication said the application became necessary following an order restraining the commission from tampering with the information embedded in the BVAS machines until due inspection was conducted and Certified True Copies (CTC) issued to the applicants.
The source also said INEC needs sufficient time to reconfigure the BVAS to be used during this Saturday’s poll holding in the 36 states of the federation, excluding the FCT. According to the source, the technical team of the commission have to be deployed on time to start the reconfiguration of the devices, which has to be done one by one. The electoral commission’s source also claimed that not getting the order will lead to postponement of March 11 elections.