Officers of the Ijeshatedo police station have apprehended three Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) staff for conspiring with a parish priest of St Brigigs Catholic Church, Ijeshatedo, Lagos, to create an illegal permanent voter’s card registration unit in the church auditorium for members.
The INEC staff including Mrs Rita, Mr Ikechukwu Izuchukwu and Miss Agbokhna Ebigun, were arrested following a complaint by the Chairman, Residents Association, Raji Azeem, to the police about ploys by the church to disenfranchise some members of the public.
According to Azeem, residents have waited to no avail at the INEC recognised registration centre only to discover that electoral officers have been camped at Catholic Church hall attending to members of the church.
He said, “The INEC officials were assigned to Imam Thanni Street by House 9A for today’s exercise. They were, however, found within the church premises. Residents raised concerns and informed the police. The DPO Ijeshatedo swung into action and brought the INEC officials to the station.
“Preliminary findings show that a resident of the area who volunteered to transport the officials from their office to the center was responsible for the mix-up, deliberate or not, further investigation will reveal. Meanwhile, the officials were immediately released to proceed to the correct center to continue their assignment.”
Reacting to the development, INEC’s Public Relations Officer in Lagos state, Mrs Adenike Oriowo told NAN that though the exercise was disrupted, no machine was stolen.
“There were issues in the said CVR centre but orderliness was restored and the exercise continued smoothly. We have moved the registration in that centre to another polling unit in the area, and our officials have continued with the registration.
“People should be patient. We shall register as many people as possible. If people continue to disrupt the process, the opportunity to register more people before the deadline will be interrupted. Our commitment is to register as many people as possible and we will try to do so within the limited time,” the INEC spokesperson said.
Oriowo, who frowned at the last-minute rush by many applicants, said the exercise had been on since June 2021 and many people did not take the advantage but waited till the deadline.
INEC has fixed July 31 as the deadline for Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise. In order to beat the deadline, there has been a rush at registration centres across the nation.