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DSS Arraigns INEC Officials, Other, For Stealing, Selling PVCs

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Two employees of the Independent National Electoral Commission were, on Thursday, arraigned before a Chief Magistrates’ Court by the Department of State Services for allegedly stealing over 3,097 Permanent Voter Cards belonging to eligible votes in Rivers State.

The suspects identified as Beesor Sorle, 39, and Monday Ifesimama, 52, were arraigned in Port Harcourt alongside one Darlington Ogolo, 42.

The three suspects were charged with conspiracy, stealing and selling of PVCs, bribery and attempt to register intending voters by proxy.

The charges read in part, “That you, Beesor Sorle and Monday Rowland Ifesimama, between May and August 2018 at the INEC office, Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area, within the jurisdiction of this court, did conspire to commit felony to wit; stealing of 3,097 Permanent Voter Cards belonging to various registrants but in custody of INEC, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 516 of the Criminal Code, Law of Rivers State, 1999.

“That you, Darlington Ogolo, between May and August 2018, at the INEC office, Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area, within the jurisdiction of this court, did give the sum of N300,000 as bribe to Beesor Sorle, Higher Executive Officer of INEC in exchange for over 1,000 PVCs registered under Ward 7 of Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 98 (4) (1) of the Criminal Code, Law of Rivers State.

“That you, Monday Rowland Ifesimama, Chief Clerical Officer of INEC, between May and August 2018, at the INEC office, Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area, within the jurisdiction of this court, did received the sum of N120,000 as bribe from Darlington in order to fraudulently facilitate the registration of some prospective voters under Ward 7 of Opobo/Nkoro by proxy, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 98 (1) of the Criminal Code Law of Rivers State, 1999.

“That you, Monday Rowland Ifesinamama, a member of staff of INEC, between May and August 2018, at the INEC office, Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area, within the jurisdiction of this court, did receive the sum of N120,000 as bribe from Darlington Ogolo to fraudulently facilitate the registration of some prospective voters under Ward 7 of Opobo/Nkoro by proxy, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section (1) (e) of the Electoral Act, 2010.”

However, when the charges were read to them, the suspects pleaded not guilty.

The Chief Magistrate, S. D. Andrew-Jaja, granted them bail in the sum of N100,000 each with sureties, who must be civil servants of not less than Level 12 in the Civil Service.

The sureties, according to the chief magistrate, should make available photocopies of their appointment letters.

Andrew-Jaja later adjourned the matter till February 20, 2019.

Also arraigned by the DSS was one Philemon Lawrence (25), who allegedly paraded himself as an INEC official and defrauding unsuspecting members of the public after promising to give them jobs as ad hoc workers of the commission.

Lawrence was said to be collecting N3,800 each from the prospective ad hoc workers after advertising his bank account online.

The three counts preferred against the suspect read in part, “That you, Philemon Lawrence, with others still at large, between December and January 2019 in Port Harcourt, within the jurisdiction of this court, did fraudulently received N3,800 from Gladday Toby on the pretext that you would offer her employment as an ad hoc staff of INEC, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 419 (A) of the Criminal Code Law of Rivers State, 1999.”

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BIG STORY

BREAKING: INEC To Reschedule Elections In Lagos, Rivers, Anambra Over Violence and Ballot Box Snatching Allegations

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The Independent National Electoral Commission, on Saturday, said that it would reschedule elections in some parts of Rivers, Anambra and Lagos States where there were cases of violence and ballot box snatching.

The commission which specifically mentioned the National Assembly elections in Rivers State, also acknowledged the challenges of smart card readers, saying they have been resolved.

INEC Commissioner and chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, while giving an update on the ongoing elections, said where the malfunctioning of smart card readers were not resolved before the closing of elections, voting will continue the next day.

He said, “We received reports of violence and ballot box snatching which took place in Akokotoro and Bonny LGAs in Rivers State; and some parts of Lagos and Anambra states. We are waiting for the reports, we have told the Resident Electoral Commissioners in the states to submit reports. So long as the poll is didn’t commence, it is assumed that there was no voting.

“So, elections in these areas, especially in areas related to the House of Representatives and Senate didn’t take place and the date for the election will be decided later after we receive reports from INEC officials on ground.”

The commission also said that most of the challenges association with smart card readers were resolved on time.

Okoye also threatened that any INEC official who deliberately refused to make use of the smart card readers would be prosecuted because that action contravened the electoral guidelines and provisions of the Electoral Act.

He said, “It was made clear that the use of smart card reader is mandatory. Therefore any official of the commission who will deliberately refuse to use the smart card reader will be subject to prosecution.

“The challenges of smart card readers have been resolved. But where they are not resolved before the closing of elections, the election will continue the next day.”

He also explained that all the unused ballot papers will be cancelled immediately after election.”

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15 Feared Killed By Gunmen In Military Uniform In Rivers #NigeriaDecides2019

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Fifteen persons are reported to have been killed by gunmen in military uniform Abonema area of Rivers State.

The report, filed in by a correspondent of Channels Television during the station’s live transmission of the coverage of the election, makes it the second incident of killing in Rivers State in the ongoing Presidential and National Assembly elections.

An agent of the Peoples Democratic Party was reported killed earlier in the day.

The PDP agent has been allegedly identified as Thywill Dobtubo.

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It’s None Of Your Business What Bullion Vans Are Doing In My House —- Tinubu Tells Nigerians

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The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has frowned at those questioning what bullion vans were doing in his Bourdillon home in Ikoyi, Lagos State a day before the commencement of the 2019 general elections.

Tinubu made his position known to newsmen shortly after casting his vote in Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Tinubu, who voted alongside his wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, said since there has been no report that the bullion vans contained electoral materials, he had committed no offence.

He also said he had not stolen government money.

He said he has had no contact with government money in any way in the last five years.

Tinubu told newsmen: “What is your issue with bullion vans in my house?

“I have not done any government business in the last five years.

“So I didn’t steal government money.

“And the bullion van was not said to contain election materials.

“So what offence have I committed.

“I have had no contact with government money in the last five years.

“So I don’t see why that should be anybody’s problem.

“It is my money.

“I decide where to keep it and where to keep it.”

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