A former Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Imo State capital, Mr Onwuasoanya FCC Jones has raised the alarm that Governor Hope Uzodimma has activated plans to compromise the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machine for the November 11 Governorship Election in the state.
Jones, a public affairs analyst raised the alarm in reaction to “Imo Social Security Number,” a programme Governor Uzodimma’s government planned during which it would collect citizens’ data for election manipulation.
The Imo State Government Special Announcement leaflet which SaharaReporters obtained on Tuesday, stipulated that the requirement for enrollment in the programme is having a valid voters card.
According to the statement, the programme which would issue a unique Imo State Social Benefit Number (IMSSBN) to each enrolled individual, will start today, May 16, 2023 at all polling units in the state.
It stated “the 3R/Shared Prosperity Government in Imo State envisioned and concluded plans to roll out a Social Welfare Benefit Programme that is targeted at enrolling every Adult Imo State indigene on our enterprise database platform.”
The state government gave the benefits of the programme to include “IMSSBN Health Insurance, Skill Acquisition, Citizen’s Help Desk/Citizen’s Infopedia, Economic Empowerment, and Employment Opportunity Advisory Business Support Programmes/Grants.”
Reacting to development, Jones described the Imo Social Security Number as a fraudulent way of stealing citizens’ details for election manipulation. He accused Uzodimma regime and APC of desperately trying to steal data of impoverished and dehumanised youths of Imo State.
He stated, “The plan which he has shielded under a deceitful Social Welfare Scheme is strictly aimed at collating sensitive data of would-be applicants, including; BVN, NIN, VIN numbers and important voting details of the applicants will enable the APC and their agents manipulate the biomodial accreditation system.
“The program which is set to be launched today targets the most financially vulnerable of the society, especially; retirees, unemployed graduates, artisans, etc, who would be enticed with false promises of some social security benefits, upon enrolling on the programme.
“For the avoidance of doubts, citizens do not need any special number to benefit from social welfare programs from any responsible government. The National Identity Number which every Nigerian is eligible to be enrolled into has all the features to qualify as a social security number for all Nigerian citizens as it contains all relevant information covering every citizen, including your financial standing and employment history.
“The idea of asking people to enroll for a different programme before they can be captured for social welfare packages is fraudulent and those behind such must be taken for who they are.”
He added, “Analysts believe that the APC had successfully test-run a pilot programme for the compromise of the BVAS accreditation method during the supplementary election and used same to successfully subvert the will of the people, and are now using the same method to ensure that the upcoming governorship elections in Imo, Bayelsa and Kogi are compromised.
“Beyond merely stealing people’s voters details and using same to manipulate the upcoming election, there is fear that these details may fall into the hands of internet fraudsters and hackers who may use them to perpetrate all kinds of illegal activities, including stealing victims’ life savings and other criminal activities.”
Calling on Imo residents to be wary of the dangers inherent in the programme, Jones noted “It is therefore important to warn that you stay away or risk trading off both your rights to vote and even your legal identity, probably, forever.”