APC, PDP trade accusations over arrest of alleged 'INEC hackers'

APC, PDP trade accusations over arrest of alleged 'INEC hackers'

Friday, December 5, 2014 8:50 pm

Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

An INEC staff works on the registration computer

An INEC staff works on the registration computer

The arrest of nine suspects including some women in a hotel owned by a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP,at Elele, in Ikwerre local Government area of Rivers state today by detectives from the Rivers State Police command, has sparked off accusations and counter accusations between the loyalists of the All Progressive Congress, APC, and the PDP.

Chief Chidi Wihioka,APC chieftain from the area,and an aspirant into the Federal House of Representatives, representing Ikwerre and Emohua constituency accused PDP members of smuggling computers and data capturing machines and printers of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC,to the hotel under the protection of some soldiers. He said the suspects nabbed planned to clone INEC Permanent Voters Cards,PVC.

According to Wihioka,”some boys and ladies were arrested by the Police detectives with three INEC computers and other data capturing machines registering people with assorted passports unknown persons.”

Wihioka told a cross section of journalists in Port Harcourt that when the Police detectives arrived,they saw some people in army uniforms giving the suspects protection.

“We,the Eleme people are grateful to the prompt Police response to arrest those caught with such a highly sensitive INEC materials. Only God knows how the PDP chieftain they are working for were able to get the sensitive INEC materials.”

Recalling his stint in INEC as a former top official before,Wihioka said INEC has a lot of explanations to give to Elele people, Rivers state and Nigerians how its sensitive materials were found with those arrested in a private hotel because INEC was supposed to retrieve its materials to its offices after daily use by INEC.

However,Aniedi Ikoiwak, the Rivers state INEC Commissioner claimed ignorance of the arrest of some persons with INEC properties in a hotel at Elele.

“When I heard the rumour, I ordered for immediate inventory of our properties, especially those deployed to Ikwerre local Government area and Eleme in particular but none of our materials were missing. And in fact,all were in the field so I don’t know anything about INEC data machines found in a hotel.”

The Rivers Police Command through Ahmad Muhammad, the Police Public Relations Officer,PPRO, confirmed that nine internet scammers were arrested in a private hotel at Elele.

According Muhammad,a Deputy Superintendent Of Police,DSP, “Following a tip off that some persons with questionable characters were seen entering a hotel at Elele with concealed items in a carton, the Police immediately raided the hotel and arrested nine suspected youths who admitted that they were a syndicate of Internet scammers trying to break into a code.”

The Police said investigations are on to establish the facts of the case.

In a swift reaction, the Chairman of PDP in the state,Felix Obuah,in a statement by his media Aide,Jerry Needam said Chidi Wihioka lied in his allegations about the arrest of some persons in a hotel that belonged to a PDP chieftain and challenged him to account for billions of Naira spent On road rehabilitation.

“The Rivers State chapter of the PDP denied involvement in any illegal registration that led to the arrest of Seven persons with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) machines and registration materials, registering people in a hotel in Elele.

The statement described as false and misleading the accusation linking PDP members to the incident.

The PDP said it believes that the allegation against it and the purported illegal registration was orchestrated by Chidi Wihioka and the All Progressives Congress {APC} to portray the PDP in a bad light, knowing that their campaign deceits and lies have been exposed and the people have vowed to reject them in the coming elections.


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