Soldiers Intercept Ballot Papers in Ekiti
Men of the Nigerian Army deployed to monitor the June 21 governorship election in Ekiti State yesterday arrested a truck loaded with ballot papers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at an undisclosed location in the state.
Briefing journalists in Ado-Ekiti yesterday on the development, the Commander of 32 Artillery Brigade, Akure, Brig-Gen. Aliyu Momoh, who made the disclosure, also threatened that anybody caught with dangerous weapons would be brought down by his men.
Momoh, who said his men are on ground to maintain peace and order during the election, added that since it is not possible to vote with guns, cutlasses or any other offensive weapons, who so ever is caught armed would be brought down. During the briefing, the state Deputy Governor, Prof. Modupe Adelabu, was present to have a brief chart with the commander.
According to Momoh, at about 1.30p.m. his men intercepted a truck loaded with materials meant for the conduct of election. According to him, some of the materials in the truck included, INEC reflective jackets, 2014 INEC robber stamps, 2008, 2009 and 2011 expired materials.
He said that although those materials were considered expired, but they were curious about them because of the 2014 stamps used on the materials. The truck used to convey the materials with registration number APP952XL(Lagos), was accompanied by three young men, Oluwafemi Ose, Segun Akanbi and Biodun Erinfolami.
Momoh said during interrogation, the young men told his men that they were waste materials. The commander said his job was to arrest and later hand over to the men of the State Security Service (SSS) for further investigation.
Although, he did not disclose the location where they were arrested for security reason, Momoh, however maintained that the army was in the state to ensure that the election was not disrupted.
In his reaction, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Alhaji Halilu Pai, confirmed that they were waste INEC materials that had been sold out to auctioneer.
He explained that the materials had been approved for evacuation by the commission since last April to enable the commission prepare for the coming election.
According to him, since the commission was expecting huge materials to be used for the election, there was need to evacuate the expired ones to give space for the new ones coming.
'And this is what we have done by allowing the company that already has the approval of INEC to evacuate it.'