Residents of Imo State, under the aegis of concerned Imo Indigenes, on Tuesday protested against the state government’s Imo State Social Benefit Number scheme.
The protest led by Comrade Uchechukwu Okoronkwo, took place at front of the Imo government house in Owerri.
Their grievance, was that the government of governor Hope Uzodimma allegedly collected from residents the details of their Permanent Voter’s Cards, PVC, before people can be registered in the scheme. And they alleged it would be used to rig November 2023 Imo governorship election.
According to them, “We are here to peacefully demonstrate against the attempt by Governor Hope Uzodinma’s government to scuttle and truncate the November 11, governorship poll in the state. We decided to let the world know that Imo people will resist any plot, whosoever carries out such nefarious action.
“You are aware that Governor Uzodinma and his agents are gradually perfecting this plot to perpetuate the heinous act through what they tagged, “Imo State Social Benefit Number” to the people.
“Our conviction that APC-led Imo State government is working towards rigging the November election is the unwholesome invitation of Imo people to gather at polling centers in the state with their Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs).”
“The government is making the rigging strategy appear so legitimate by ridiculously telling some gullible Imo citizens that the government is organising an empowerment scheme which can only be accessed with Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC), National Identification Number (NIN), and Bank Verification Number (BVN).
“In their continuous deceit, Governor Uzodinma and his agents are telling their victims that the Social Benefit Number will offer the people a renewed life and raise them from poverty, penury, and lack. With this white lie, many people in the state rushed and submitted their PVCs thereby becoming victims of voter identity theft aimed at cloning their PVCs and pre-or-front-loading of the BVAS with fake votes ahead of the November Governorship election in the State,” they said.
Reacting, Governor Hope Uzodimma’s Special Adviser on Student Affairs, Franklyn Oparaji, addressing the youths said: “PVS are not being collected. It is just a means of identification. This exercise will guarantee the security of Imo people. And welfare for Imo people. How can we identify you as an imo people when you don’t have an identity number. So, the government means well for the people.”