The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has accused some desperate politicians of stealing 2,045 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) from its office in Okobo local government area of Akwa Ibom State.
The office was attacked last month by some youths protesting the outcome of the primaries conducted by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the area.
Briefing reporters yesterday in Uyo, the state capital, INEC national commissioner supervising Akwa Ibom, Delta and Cross River States, Dr. Mohammed Mustapha Lecky, said that the commission was working with security agencies to track down the suspects with a view to prosecuting them.
He said: “The PVCs were stolen in Okobo local government area; they were 2,045 PVCs. We have visited the council and we found a lot of security lapses around the local government office.
“I think it was a mob action which was a consequence of the primary elections that were taking place at that time and I want to assure you that the police are looking into the matter. These things (PVCs) were stolen from where we kept them for safety.
“Like I have said what they (hoodlums) have done is a nullity because we have a list of everybody; we have their names, we have their pin numbers and we have their pictures on the voter register. It is a matter of reproducing the PVCs and making them available.
“Still we have to go after those culprits who were responsible so that we can apprehend them and punish them according to the law”, he said.
Lecky dispelled the insinuation that federal might would be used to truncate the credibility of next year’s election in favour of the APC, adding that the current leadership of INEC would not pander to the interest of any political party.
He condemned politicians for starting campaigns before November 18, 2018 fixed by the commission, saying that they have defied INEC’s regulations.
INEC resident electoral commissioner in Akwa Ibom, Mr. Mike Igini, said that he would ensure that credible and transparent elections were conducted in the state.
“Under the current leadership in this state and with our commissioner of police, we will maintain absolute, unqualified neutrality to provide a level playing field to leave behind a legacy and electoral process where attitudes are shaped,” he said.
The police commissioner Mr. John Abang, said that every security measures would be taken to ensure that the outcome of the polls meet international best practices and acceptable to all contenders.