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Sequel to newspaper report credited to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that local printers lack the capacity to print electoral materials and a subsequent Press Conference organized by the Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria (CIPPON) to not only refute the claim but also reaffirm Nigerian Printers capacity to print election and security materials, INEC has come out to refute the newspaper report and says it will explore areas to partner indigenous professional printers in preparation for the 2019 general elections.

Before that however, CIPPON in a Communiqué jointly signed by its President/ Chairman–of–Council, Mr. Wahab Aderemi Muhammed–Lawal and Registrar/ Secretary to the Council, Mallam Ndagi Mohammed Abubakar, dated Tuesday March 14th 2017 on the outcome of its press conference, resolved that indigenous print professionals have capacity and are thus capable of handling print jobs of any magnitude. It also urged INEC, governments and non-governmental organizations and parastatals in line with the provision of the law, particularly section 23(b) of Printers Act No. 24 of 2007 to patronize only CIPPON licensed printers in Nigeria for all their print services needs.

While noting that attention should not be focused on INEC alone but extended to other organisations such as National Population Commission, UBEC, Multinational Companies, Conglomerates, Agencies and Finance/ Non–Financial Institutions, CIPPON declared that a legal action for non compliance with CIPPON Act by Print Buyers shall be embarked upon vigorously to protect print investments in the Nigerian economy.

However, Chairman of INEC - Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu after a meeting with a 20-member delegation of professional printers of Nigeria led by Yaliam Press Chairman/ Managing Director – Alhaji Yahaya Amfani on the 22nd of March 2017 recalled that INEC had been partnering indigenous printers, saying that all printing jobs for the 167 elections conducted since November 2015 were undertaken by local printers. “None was contracted to foreign companies. If you do not have the capacity, we wouldn’t have worked closely with you on 167 occasions in the last one year,” Yakubu said.

Also in his statement, leader of the delegation - Alhaji Yahaya Amfani said the newspaper report gave the impression that Nigerian Printers are not skilled and lack the capacity to print relevant materials for the 2019 general elections. Alhaji Amfani however went on to state that while it was true that indigenous printers lack the capacity for INEC’s requirement about 15 years ago, more investment had been made locally to meet the commission’s current requirement. “Many indigenous print professionals have now invested billions of naira to acquire the relevant equipment for large scale printing which meets electoral requirements”, Alhaji Amfani testified.

INEC Chairman added that though no commitment could yet be given on the 2019 general elections since the commission is still in the process of planning for the elections but INEC would work with Nigerian printers when the need arises. “We need to be adequately prepared for the elections and our preparations include the procurement of sensitive and non-sensitive materials and it is on this note that I want to commend the effort of the professional printers for seeking an audience with the commission. We will continue to partner our Nigerian Printers.” Prof. Yakubu promised.

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