The Police in Akwa Ibom say they have arrested one Mr Ejike Nwankwo, a staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) working in Akwa Ibom for allegedly in possession of four card readers illegally after the 2019 general election.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, SP Odiko Macdon, confirmed the arrest to newsmen in Uyo on Wednesday.
He said that the suspect had since been released on bail while a discreet investigation was ongoing to get to the root of the matter.
According to him, the Police have written to the electoral body for more details on the four card readers.
“Yes, there was an arrest by the men of the Command and the said person is an INEC staff.
“He was found to be in possession of four card readers. We have written to the Commission demanding to know why he was in possession of the card readers.
“One, we know he is with the ICT department after we had carried out a preliminary investigation.
“The Commissioner of Police has ordered us to carry out a more discreet investigation into the matter.
“INEC is in a better position to explain why he was in possession of the card readers. Our own is to apprehend offenders and prosecute them,” he stated.
He said that the police routine stop-and-search on the suspects’ car on May 17 led to the discovery of the card readers.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) had alleged that the Commission’s staff was arrested with recalibrated card readers, suggesting that the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Mike Igini was engaging card reader technicians to help him validate the 2019 elections in Akwa Ibom suspected to have been doctored.
However, the Public Affairs Officer of INEC in Akwa Ibom, Mr Don Etukudo, on Wednesday in a statement made available to newsmen, said that the four card readers were used for the training of ad hoc staff of the commission by the officer during the 2019 general elections.
Etukudoh said that the four card readers did not have data in them that could have influenced the outcome of the election.
He said that the suspect was incapacitated just after the polls and could not return the card readers because of the illness but left them in his car, which was taken to the mechanic by his brother-in-law while he was in the hospital.
According to him, in the hierarchy of reporting, the officer does not report directly to the Resident Electoral Commissioner, but to his unit head who reports to his head of department who in turn reports to the resident electoral commissioner.
”The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Mike Igini has been away from the State to South Africa and Malawi where he would deliver lectures preparatory for those countries’ elections and could not have engaged anyone for any unwholesome purpose as alleged,” he said.