Close associates of an Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) staff in Akwa Ibom State, have accused the Nigerian Police of being unfair, partial and biased in the treatment of their colleague, Mr. Ejike Nwankwo, who was discovered to be in possession of 4 empty Card Readers of the Commission on Friday, May 17.
Platinum.ng gathered that Nwankwo who works in the ICT wing of the Commission was found with the Card Readers in his Car and accused of being INEC’s result doctoring agent.
He was subsequently detained at the State Police headquarters by the Inspector General of Police (IPO), Mr. Peter, of the Anti-Robbery Squad unit headed by Idoreyen Akpabio, and bailed with the sum of N100, 000 by his wife.
Speaking with this reporter bitterly, one of the staffs who spoke on anonymity said:
“He introduced himself as a staff of the Commission and showed them his Identity Card. Instead of them to investigate by calling the Commission to know whether this person is really working with INEC or not, they went ahead to snap his picture with the empty Card Readers and sent it to APC media people who uploaded it on social media, and said that the guy was arrested by 2am.
“and they even went ahead to collect N100, 000 from him as bail, when they say that bail is free. The wife of the man had to go and borrow N100, 000 for his bail after they had spent thousands of naira on his health in the hospital for over a month”, another associate said.
Earlier, the state INEC Public Affairs Officer, Mr. Don Etukudoh, had countered allegations from the state APC that Nwankwo was arrested with “recalibrated card readers”, suggesting that the State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) was engaging Card Reader Technicians to help him validate his doctored 2019 election results in the State”.
He described the allegation as a ploy to “deceive the public, blackmail the commission and score cheap political points and sympathy”.
Etukudoh had confirmed Nwankwo to be a staff of the Commission working in the ICT department which custodies the Commission’s Card Readers.
“He was stopped by the Police on a routine Stop-and-Search on Friday 17, May, 2019 at about 3pm and four (4 nos) empty Smart Card Readers were found in his car trunk. He was not arrested on Sunday by 2am as mischievously alleged by the Akwa Ibom State APC. The four empty card readers were used for training of Ad-hoc Staff by the officer during the elections. The four Card Readers do not have data in them that could have influenced or affected the process or outcome of the elections”, he said.
He also explained that the officer took ill immediately after the 2019 General Elections and was hospitalised at St. Athanasius Hospital, Uyo for about a month.
“Because of the illness, the officer could not return the Card Readers to the ICT department but left them in his car which was taken to the mechanic by his brother-in-law while the officer was in the hospital”, he stated.
Meanwhile, a member of the Akwa Ibom human right community who did not want her name mentioned, described the accusation as lame. She wondered if the 4 empty card readers would influence the results of the elections which had been concluded and announced.
“It seems the Police here are being used by politicians to cause political disunity”, she said.
She called on the INEC to file a court case on defamation against the Nigerian Police and those spreading the false information, and claim damages. “The Young man whose image has been battered should be paid and apologized to”, she maintained.