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INEC official arrested with four card readers in A’Ibom

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By Ikora Ayungbe ,Uyo

The police command has confirmed the arrest of a staff of branch of the Independent National Electoral Commission (), Ejike Nwankwo, over alleged possession of readers.

The police on a routine stop-and-search on Friday, May 17 found the card readers in Nwankwo’s car trunk which led to his arrest.

Police public relations officer, Odiko Macdon, who confirmed the arrest, said the suspect had since been released on bail while a ‘’discreet’’ investigation was ongoing to get to the root of the matter.

According to him, the police have written to the electoral body for more details on the readers. He said, ‘’Yes, there was an arrest by the men of the command and the said person is an staff. He was found to be in possession of . 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.

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‘’INEC is in a better position to explain why he was in possession of the card readers. Our is to apprehend offenders and prosecute them’’.

The All Progressives Congress (APC), had alleged that the Commission’s staff was with ‘’recalibrated card readers’’, suggesting that the resident electoral commissioner, Mike Igini was engaging card reader technicians to ‘’help him validate the doctored 2019 elections in ’’.

But the public affairs officer, INEC, Don Etukudoh, on Wednesday in a release made available to our correspondent stated that the ‘’empty card readers were used for training of ad hoc staff by the officer during the elections’’.

He stated that ‘’the do not have data in them that could have influenced or effect the process or outcome of the elections’’.

According to him, the suspect was incapacitated just after the polls and could not return the card readers because of the illness but left them in his car, which was taken to the mechanic by his brother-in-law while he was in the hospital.

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He explained further, “In the hierarchy of reporting the officer does not report directly to the commissioner but to his unit head who reports to his head of department who them reports to the commissioner.

”The resident electoral commissioner, Mike Igini has been away from the state and country to South Africa and Malawi where he delivered lectures preparatory to those countries’ elections and could not have engaged anyone for any unwholesome purpose as alleged.

“The commission in the state, under the leadership of Mike Igini, remains resolute in its pursuit of democratic ideals and no amount of blackmail or intimidation would veer it off course.’’

 

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