A truck with registration no, UNN 148 XA allegedly loaded with INEC ballot papers and other materials has been intercepted in Ogoja Local Government Area of Cross River State.
The truck was intercepted by an unnamed Taskforce on Thursday afternoon along Ogoja-Abakiliki Road, Egbung, in Ogoja LGA, while trying to convey the ballot materials to an unknown destination.
An eyewitness who pleaded anonymity alleged that the truck was intercepted during a routine stop and search of vehicles by members of the task force. “When the truck was opened, it was loaded with unused ballot papers belonging to Boki Local Government for 2015 State Constituency election, as well as computer hard drives and other secretariat documents.
“The driver said he had the authority of INEC to move them from Calabar where he claimed he was coming from. But he wasn’t sure where he was going. He first said he was going to INEC headquarters in Abuja.
”He later said he was going from LGA to LGA to mop them up. Not long after, he said he was going to Abakaliki, then lastly claimed that he was only moving them to Onitsha for one Emmanuel Kalu, who is the buyer. So it was obvious that something is fishy and the truck has been arrested by the youths,” our source stated.
When newsmen contacted the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Cross River Dr. Frankland Briyai, he said that the Commission (INEC) did not sell ballot papers but obsolete INEC materials.
Reacting to the news of an impounded truck with obsolete INEC materials and some 2015 ballot papers, Dr Briyar said sometime last year, they had a lot of obsolete materials and someone came and bought them off but they did not include any ballot papers.
According to him, the said truck was stopped at a security checkpoint in Ogoja area of Cross River and on further checks; it was revealed that the truck had some obsolete INEC materials and 2015 ballot papers, so the security officials raised the alarm.
He said the commission would investigate the matter and ensure that those found culpable would go in for it as the commission does not sell ballot papers even if they were old.
“I had a call from some security operatives that they impounded a truck at Ogoja with some useless papers and 2015 ballot papers. First, I asked the lady in charge of the ballot if she knew anything about ballot papers going out and she said no.
“I have notified the security agencies including the police and Department of State Security (DSS). I don’t know what they will find out, I have also alerted my headquarters”, he said.
When DAILY POST contacted the Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO) Ms Irene Ugbo, she said, It is confirmed but INEC was expecting materials, “It was actually going to INEC office in Calabar.
“INEC was aware, what they say is that they normally move their materials at night and it was intercepted because the security personnel needed to be sure of what the vehicle was conveying.
“It wasn’t a stolen material, nobody has been arrested, no vehicle was impounded, INEC was expecting the truck and the materials, it is neither a case of stealing nor impounding of vehicle, not at all,” she stated.