Barely five days to the Edo State election, a middle-aged man was at the weekend, arrested with about 25 Permanent Voters Card (PVCs) at Ugo in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of the state.
The man was alleged to have been luring people by telling them that whosoever submits his/her PVC would be given a N200,000 empowerment loan.
A resident of the area, who was involved in the arrest of the suspect, said: “This morning, we got information that one boy was collecting PVCs from some people. We then decided to look for the boy. We were able to locate him as he was tracked to his house and 25 PVCs were found with him.
“The boy said he was asked to do so by some of his leaders in Ugo. He said he was told that anyone who surrendered his card will be given a loan worth of N200,000.
“That motivated the people to give out their cards. We then took the boy to the police station at Ugo. They had earlier warned him to stop what he was doing but he did not listen.”
The Edo State Police Commissioner, Mr. Chris Ezike, confirmed the arrest, pointing out that the suspect would be moved and the case transferred to the headquarters of the state police command in Benin.
“The information I received was that he was caught with 10 PVCs. I have instructed that the matter be transferred to the state headquarters.
“We have advised all to play by the rules Spokesperson for INEC in the state, Mrs. Priscillia Sule, who neither confirmed nor denied the incident, promised to contact the officials in charge of the area for details.
Meanwhile, the PDP has written INEC over the identities of those who will conduct the election.
Quoting from excerpts of its letter to INEC, PDP Publicity Secretary Chris O. Nehikhare, in a statement, said: “As part of our preparations for the Edo State gubernatorial election slated for Saturday, September 10, 2016 we have formally requested for a meeting with staff (Local Government Collation Officers, Returning Officer for the State, Staff in charge of card readers, E-Collation Officers and members of the ICT team) of INEC assigned to the state to conduct the elections in Edo State.
“You will be aware that as at today 5/09/2016 (5 days before the elections), the names and identities of these staff have not been made public.
“Information available to us is that INEC has granted requests made by the APC for a similar meeting with the above mentioned staff. We are reliably informed that members of APC have been granted remote access to INEC servers and INEC e-collation platforms.
“We are informed that this was done in furtherance of a plan by certain officials of INEC to grant APC real time access to INEC’s e-collation platforms in a bid to enable them manipulate results on the field at polling stations where they are losing elections or disrupt the electoral process at such locations. We believe that such a meeting will avail us the opportunity to lay our complaints.”