INEC distances self from alleged election sensitive materials seized by police in Awka

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Anambra state has distanced its office from the publications in some Newspapers where the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) alleged that two lorry loads of sensitive materials meant for the 18 November Governorship election in the state were intercepted by the Police in an undisclosed hotel in Awka in the state.

The commission also said it is not aware that the Police command recovered large quantities of what looked like the Register of Voters meant for the election or arrested two persons in connection with the incident.

A press release signed by the state Resident Electoral Commission, Dr Nkwachukwu Orji and made available to the Guardian yesterday in Awka, maintained that the Commission is not aware of any missing sensitive election material and has not received any official report in that regard.

The statement in part reads, “The attention of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been drawn to publications in the media about statements allegedly made by the Chairman of one of the political parties that two lorry loads of sensitive materials meant for the 18 November Governorship election in Anambra State have been intercepted by the Police in anundisclosed hotel in Awka.

“It has equally come to the notice of the Commission that the Police recovered large quantities of what looked like the Register of Voters meant for the 18 November Governorship election in Anambra State from some individuals in a hotel in Awka, Anambra State on 6 November 2017.

“It is not clear to the Commission whether these two alleged incidents are related, but the Commission wishes to state that it is not aware of any missing sensitive election material and has not received any official report in that regard.

“The Independent National Electoral Commission, therefore, states categorically that the materials allegedly found in a hotel room in Awka do not belong to the Commission.

“The Commission wishes to point out in clear terms that it is not possible for sensitive materials meant for the Anambra State Governorship election to be delivered to a hotel room because there are laid down processes of delivery of sensitive election materials, which involve strict monitoring of the process by party agents, election observers, security agencies and the media”.

Quoting Section 20 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) which provides that INEC publish the Register of Voters not later than 30 days before an election, Dr Orji said the electronic register was presented to political parties in a widely publicised event in Awka on 18 October 2017.

He explained that the Register given to political parties by INEC does not have the same details as the one used for elections, adding, “Indeed several fields and security features are not included in the Register given to political parties.

“The Commission had the opportunity to compare the Register recovered by the Police and the one meant for the 18 November Anambra Governorship election. It is clear on examination that what the Police recovered appears to have been printed from the electronic Register given to the political parties, and not the official Register of Voters for the Governorship election”.

While restating its commitment to ensuring that the State Governorship election is free, fair and credible, Dr Orji solicited for the cooperation of the public, even as he appealed to all stakeholders to confirm their information before going to the press in order not to undermine the peace that has prevailed in Anambra.

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