Police apprehend, parade INEC staff with four card readers in Akwa Ibom State
••• Card reader used in Onna, Gov Udom’s local government among them.
The Police Command in Akwa Ibom says it has arrested a staff member of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Akwa Ibom over alleged illegal possession of card readers.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, SP Odiko Macdon, confirmed the development to newsmen in Uyo on Wednesday.
He said that the suspect had been released on bail while a discreet investigation had commence to get to the bottom of the matter.
According to Macdon, the Police have written to the electoral body for more details on the four card readers.
‘’Yes, there was an arrest by the men of the command and the said person is a member of INEC staff.“
“He was found to be in possession of four card readers. We have written to the Commission demanding to know why he was in possession of the card readers.“
‘’One, we know he is with the ICT department, after we had carried out a preliminary investigation. The Commissioner of Police has ordered us to carry out a more discreet investigation into the matter.“
‘’INEC is in a better position to explain why he was in possession of the card readers. Our own is to apprehend offenders and prosecute them,’’ he said.
The spokesman said that the police routine stop-and-search on the suspect’s car on May 17 led to the discovery of the card readers.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) had alleged that INEC worker was arrested with recalibrated card readers, and that the Resident Electoral Commissioner engaged card reader technicians to validate doctored general elections in Akwa Ibom.
However, the Public Affairs Officer of INEC in the state, Mr Don Etukudo, in a statement on Wednesday, said that the four card readers were used for training of Ad hoc staff by the officer during the general elections.
Etukudoh said that the card readers did not have data in them that could have influenced or effected the process or outcome of the elections.
He explained that the suspect was incapacitated just after the polls and could not return the card readers because of the illness, which forced him to leave the cards in his car.
He said that the cards were discovered when the car was taken to a mechanic’s workshop for repair by the worker’s brother-in-law, while he was in the hospital.
According to Etukudo, in the hierarchy of reporting, the officer does not report directly to the Resident Electoral Commissioner, but to his unit head who reports to his head of department, who in turn reports to the resident electoral commissioner.
”The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Mike Igini, has been away from the state to South Africa and Malawi where he would deliver lectures preparatory for those countries’ elections.“
“He could not have engaged anyone for any unwholesome purpose as alleged,” he said. (NAN)