By EMMA AMAIZE
A Direct Data Capture, DDC, machine, camera and scanner, belonging to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has been discovered by the police at the residence of a pastor in Ughelli, Delta State.
In Aniocha North local government area, a top politician was said have paid between N2,000 to N5,000 to youths from other communities in a last-minute rush , yesterday, to boost his electoral strength in his area, while a PDP leader in Akwukwu-Igbo, Oshimili North Local Government dismissed the report that under-aged persons were being registered in the community.
Delta State Police spokesman, Mr. Charles Muka who confirmed the discovery of the INEC equipment in the pastor’s residence said two persons had been arrested by the police in connection with the incident.
He did not give details but said the suspects were being interrogated by men of the Criminal Investigation Department, CID, Asaba.
The whereabout of the pastor or his involvement in the affair has not been established.
Meanwhile, a top politician in Aniocha local government area of the state was reportedly paying unemployed youths from different communities between N2,000 and N5,000 each and packing them in buses to register in his constituency to beef up the voting strength of his area.
A politician, who called Saturday Vanguard on phone from Akwukwu-Igbo, yesterday, said, “Two of the buses carrying people to the top politician’s community to register were impounded by the police but the politician came overnight to bail them”.
Delta state police image maker, Mr. Muka said he was not aware of the incident when contacted.
At about 2.00 pm, the source also called Saturday Vanguard to say that 19 buses, filled with people who were paid money by the politician were heading to his community to carry out illegal registration.
He lamented that hungry youths from his own community fell for the bait and his worry was that he does not want INEC to disqualify legitimate voters from his area who were lured with money by the politician to register in his town .
The politician dismissed an earlier report by Saturday Vanguard that under -aged persons were being registered at Akwukwu-Igbo.
Indeed, there was a mix -up as it was in Aviara ward in Isoko South Local Government area of the state that the INEC area registration officer (names withheld) was said to have sacked two National Youth Service Corps members for refusing to comply with his directive to register under-aged persons.
The Forum for Justice and Human Rights Defence in a statement on the development, in a reaction to the development said, “Our attention has also been drawn to series of complaints all over the state to the effect that some politicians in connivance with some area registration officers register persons below 18 years of age.
“We call on the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Delta State in the interest of a credible registration exercise in the state to immediately investigate the case of Aviara Ward 3, Units 27 and 28 in the Isoko South Local Government Area of the State where the registration area centre officer (names withheld) is conniving with some politicians in the area to register under aged persons.
“We use this medium also to advise eligible voters in Delta State to shun the idea of registering in locations outside where they ordinarily reside, as we submit that such voters may have deliberately disenfranchised themselves owing to restrictions on movements on election day and other contributing factors that may arise there from.
“We condemn the use of monetary gratification by politicians in luring unsuspecting eligible voters into registering in locations outside where such voters are ordinarily resident. We make bold to state that under the Electoral Act, 2010 such politicians and their collaborators are liable to prosecution by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),” the group stated.