Claim: To locate your polling unit, send your PVC 9-digit code to 8014.
Verdict: FALSE. Our findings and comments from INEC show this code is not related to INEC or locating your PU.
The collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) is ongoing as Nigerians gear up to select new leaders to come on February 25, 2023.
In view of this, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) created additional collection centres to fast-track the process.
Amid the collection, which is expected to run till January 25, 2023, a viral WhatsApp message stated that sending the nine-digit polling code of your PVC to 8014 will give you the address of your Polling Unit (PU).
The message, aimed at getting people to vote, noted not knowing your polling unit is no excuse.
“I don’t know my polling unit is not an excuse for you not to vote. Simply text the nine digits code of your PVC to 8014, and your polling unit (Booth) address will be sent to you,” the message reads.
In the lead-up to the election, the public is eager to consume information related to their rights to help decision-making, hence the need to ensure the information available is credible.
A Polling Unit (PU) is where a voter can register to vote on election day. To locate your PU, you can use the Polling Unit Locator Tool by typing in your State, Local Government Area (LGA) and ward.
INEC is not the source of the code
We reached out to the commissioner for information and voter education, Festus Okoye, who said the commission is not the source of the said code as the commission has not released any code.
“We did not release this,” Mr Okoye responded to the enquiry message from our researcher.
The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, responding to our enquiry, shared a tweet by INEC on the procedure for locating your PVC collection centre.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission has further simplified the collection of Permanent Voters’ Cards at the ward level. Registered voters can simply text specific information to any of the two dedicated numbers below to locate their collection points.”
The numbers on the flyer are; 0906-283-0860 and 0906-283-0861. Voters are to send the name of their state, LGA and ward to these numbers.
What, then, is this viral code for, and how does it work?
Our researcher followed the instruction contained in the message by sending the nine-digit PU code to 8014, but the response had nothing to do with the polling unit.
Subsequently, a text message was received from another number (9001) speaking of a request for mobile service, which attracted a charge of N50. The message allowed the user to reply with the number one to accept or two to reject.
After accepting, a congratulatory message noted that the user’s reply had been received and confirmation would be sent soon.
24-hours later, this “confirmation” is yet to come in. Although we cannot determine what this code requested for mobile service, it is not related to locating your PU or PVC.
Our findings and comments from INEC show this code is neither related to INEC nor locating your PU.