*INEC officials deny allegation
BY JIMITOTA ONOYUME & GABRIEL ENOGHOLASE
THE Direct Data Capturing, DDC, machines and officials of the Independent National Eldectoral Commission, INEC, at the Ebenezer Primary School off Ihama Road, GRA, Benin City, Edo State, were, yesterday, allegedly said to have been taken to unknown destinations by some men, who were said to have come to the registration centre in a jeep.
This came as two corps members and five others have been allegedly arrested in Bonny Local Government Area, Rivers State, for allegedly stealing three DDC machines used for the ongoing voters registration exercise.
But the Public Relations Officer attached to the INEC office in Benin, Mrs. Sule denied that the electoral material and official were whisked away to unknown place by any one, saying that officials of the commission attached to the unit brought in the machines to the office when they found that they were malfunctioning.
An eye witness account told Vanguard that they had gone to the registration unit as early as 6.00 am to take a booking, adding that at about 9.00 am, only two persons were registered before the machine was taken away to unknown destination by INEC officials.
A prospective voter, Engr. Isaac Uhunmwangho, Chief Executice of Efex Executive, a division of Efosa Transport Company, said that he was at the polling unit at about 6.00 am and was given the number 20.
He added that when he came back at about 10.00 am, he was told that INEC officials only registered two persons before disappearing with the DDC machines, only for them to reappear at about 3.30 pm
He said when he came back for the registration, he could not be registered at about 5.00 pm when the INEC official told him that they had closed for the day.
In Rivers State, Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Aniedi Ikoiwak, who spoke on the arrest of the corps members and others, during a press briefing, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, said the outcome of police investigation would determine whether those arrested would be prosecuted.
According to him, they were already in police custody. He added that an additional 700 DDC machines had been brought to the state to enhance the ongoing voters registration exercise.
“As we speak, four of the suspects are already in police net in Port Harcourt, but the number arrested in connection with the matter is seven,” he added.