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Police investigate 2 Abia INEC staff over alleged card reader theft

Oko-Ume Nwamgbidi

The Police have quizzed two Information Communication Technology (ICT) staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abia State for allegedly attempting   to steal 7 card readers from the Umuahia office of the commission.

The suspects, according to, Professor Selina Oko, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), are Nnamdi Nwabuko , and Herbert Ejiofor, the Head of Department in charge of ICT.

According to the REC, police decided to also quiz the Head of Department, Ejiofor since the prime suspect, Nwabuko, is working directly under him.

Professor Oko condemned the action and disassociated herself from the act.

“I only learnt about the incident today. I was told there was a vehicle belonging to one of our staff which had sensitive materials, and I found out it was true. Then I asked him ‘ do you mean you leave this place with sensitive materials without my authorization?

“So, there was no authorization to remove materials. In fact the long and short of it is that I have handed them over to the police.”

The REC said the two staff, seven card readers and the Toyota Camry car belonging to the ICT staff had been handed over to the police.

She explained that the card readers were discovered in the boot of Nwabuko’s car by policemen at the gate of INEC office on Monday evening.

“Then this morning police came and picked the car, the materials and of course the suspects.

“If they had sought my approval I wouldn’t have approved it. All I did was to go to his car and started asking him why were you doing that? And he said he was going to work with it. And I asked him, without my permission?

Asked whether the suspects were among his trusted staff, the REC said she only assumed duty in Abia in January 2015, and had not taken time to prove the integrity of the staff members.

The REC said “Police should investigate and take the right action and if they need information from me I will provide.”

The REC also confirmed an attempt to burn down INEC office in Obingwa Local Government Area last week, saying that the Electoral Officer in the council told her that the arsonists tried to throw fire into the office through the window

Addressing newsmen on the incident, the Head of Intelligence and surveillance of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Chief Chidi Ahiabuike, said he gathered from his intelligence source that the HOD “conspired with some people to move some materials out from INEC to enable them perfect their rigging plans “.

He alleged that the materials the suspects attempted to steal included result sheets of the controversial Osisioma , Obingwa and Isiala Ngwa North LGAs whose results were cancelled but later reversed during collation.

His words: “From the information that we are getting, there is an ICT expert that can manipulate the card readers whom they want to send them to. They have been working on this for the past one week according to our surveillance and they wanted to execute it last night but unfortunately for them a new police officer who was deployed to INEC caught them.

“There is a conspiracy within INEC staff with some security agency to see that they perfect their plans to reconcile the 82,000, and 43,000 votes which they wrote in Obingwa and Osisioma during the election.”

Ahiabuike who is also the APGA Chairman in Isuikwuato LGA, alleged that an INEC staff in Obingwa had earlier attempted to mutilate the incident forms in the council when he got information that APGA surveillance team was tracking him “then he suddenly attempted to set the INEC office on fire but did not succeed. ”

“As if that were not enough they came back to INEC office and met the HOD in charge of ICT to see if they can manipulate the Obingwa card reader”, he said.

When contacted, the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 9, Mr. Usman Gwarri, confirmed the incident but said it was too early to establish if any crime had been committed.

He said investigations were on to find out the real motive of the suspects.

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