BY HENRY UMORU
ABUJA—A member of the Committee on Political Parties and Electoral Matters, Mallam Dani Zoro, said yesterday that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC Direct Data Capture Machines, DDCM, are currently on sale in the open market in the country and neighbouring Niger Republic.
Zoro, former National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, raised the alarm when the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega appeared before the committee.
The delegate, who shocked the INEC chairman when he brought out a battery of the DDCM with INEC logo on it, told committee members which has former Senate Presidents Iyorchia Ayu and Ken Nnamani as co- chairmen that he bought the battery in the open market and that the seller assured him that he will get him as many quantities as he wants if he was ready to pay for them.
According to Zoro, besides Nigerian markets, the INEC machines were also sold in the open market in the neighbouring Niger republic.
Responding, a surprised Jega said he was going to investigate and expose how the batteries got into the open market, adding that some states bought off some DDCM from INEC and he was not in a position to know if the ones being sold in the open market were obtained from the state governments.
Meanwhile, Jega said the electoral body was over burdened, stressing the need to have some of its statutory duties assigned to other agencies as recommended by the report of the Justice Lawan Uwais’ committee on electoral reforms.
Commending the Uwais panel for producing a very good report, he said, “Uwais committee did an excellent job and produced a very good report. I fully subscribe to all the recommendations in the Uwais report.”
INEC is fully independent
He also disclosed that the commission has attained financial autonomy through first line charge. According him, the commission receives it funds as appropriated by the National Assembly, adding that the key challenge the commission has is “what is asked is not what is appropriated.”