A Special Squad from the Nigerian Police Force headquarters in Abuja has arrested the Bayelsa State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC),Pastor Monday Tom Udoh and two other officials of the Commission over alleged criminal violation of electoral laws, conspiracy and indicting reports by the electoral officers over the conduct of the Presidential and National Assembly elections in the state.
Also arrested by the Police are the Electoral Officer (EO) Mr Jude T. Nabie and the Assistant Electoral Officer (AEO), Mrs Doris Asiayei, in charge of Nembe Local Government Area (LGA) of the State.
It was gathered yesterday that the special squad arrived Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital yesterday to effect the arrest of the Resident Electoral Officer and two others.
Sources within the state headquarters of INEC told newsmen that the REC, Pastor Monday Tom Udoh was taken to the Bayelsa State Police Headquarters and released on bail after making statement, “he was asked to make statement and released on personal recognition. He was however asked to report to Abuja.”
It was gathered that while the REC was arrested in Yenagoa, the EO and AEO were arrested at Abuja.
The arrest was linked with alleged violation of electoral laws, conspiracy and contradicting reports by the EO during the last presidential/ national assembly elections.
The REC was also accused of intimidating and harassing some staffs of INEC in Bayelsa State who reportedly vowed to speak the truth at the elections tribunal.
According to the INEC source, “The REC and the EO were also accused of forcing some of the Ad-hoc-staffs such as the SPO’s and PO’s to write statements against what really transpired during the elections, especially in the Seven wards of Bassambiri area of Nembe Local Government Area.”
The REC, Pastor Monday Tom Udoh was alleged to have refused to release election materials that will assist respondents from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) at the ongoing sitting of the Election Petition Tribunal despite several applications to that effect.
“The EO and the AEO respectively conspired with some SPO’s and PO’s to change the original reports of the elections for the presidential/National Assembly.”
LEADERSHIP gathered yesterday that the arrested Resident Electoral Commissioner and others are still in police custody at the Forces headquarter, Abuja.
When our correspondent visited the INEC office in Yenagoa, staff of the Commission were seen discussing the arrest but many declined to comment on the development.
A staff, who however pleaded anonymity, confirmed the development, saying the arrest was not ordered by the election petition tribunal, but “the police is investigating the criminal aspect of the respondent complaints. He was only invited to Abuja by the Police and not arrested.”
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