Police on Monday evening arrested an official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Umuahia, Mr Nnamdi Nwabuko, for allegedly attempting to smuggle out seven card readers and some sensitive materials out of INEC office. The official, Mr Nnamdi Nwabuko, working in the ICT department, was said to have been arrested by policemen, posted to guard the INEC office.
Nwabuko was said to be conveying the materials, which were reportedly used in Obingwa Local Government Area, during the governorship election, when he was apprehended by the security operatives.
He was immediately detained, while his ash-colour Camry car was impounded.
Confirming the incident to newsmen in her office on Tuesday, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. Selina Oko, said that she had handed over Nwabuko and the head of the ICT department, Mr Herbert Ejiofor, to Zone 9 police ”for further investigations.‘’When I came to work this morning, I was informed that one of my staff was arrested by the police, while trying to take away some electoral materials out and when I inspected the booth of his car, it was discovered that there were seven card readers and other sensitive materials used during the elections.‘’I handed them over to the police because they were taking the materials away without my approval,’’ Oko said.
She described the act as condemnable, saying, ”it would have been difficult for me to know that materials were being taken away from here if they were not caught on their way out.”
The REC said that she could not have authorised the suspects to take the materials out of the premises ‘’even if they had sought for her approval,’’ asking, ‘’How can I authorise sensitive materials to be taken away from the office?’’
She confirmed that the commission’s office at Isialangwa South Local Government Council was set ablaze on April 12, while collation of results was going on at the INEC office in Umuahia, adding that another attempt to burn down the commission’s office at Obingwa local government council was unsuccessful.
Meanwhile a senior INEC official told newsmen on the condition of anonymity that the card readers ”were supposed to be used in Obingwa Local Government Area during the governorship poll but they were not used because election did not take place in the area.
The official also said that the result sheets, which were recovered from the INEC staff were those of Obingwa, Osisioma and Isialangwa North LGAs.
The Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone 9, Mr Usman Gwary, confirmed that arrest of the INEC staff but said that ”as far as I am concerned, no crime has been established against anybody.” Gwary said ”we will need to contact INEC in order to be able to establish whether what the people were doing was wrong, adding, ”but I did not say that nothing is wrong.”
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