A commercial truck, laden with sensitive election materials, was on Thursday apprehended in Ogoja local government area of Cross River state.
The truck was arrested by some youths in Ogoja while conveying the ballot papers out of the state.
The truck, with Enugu state registration number, was stopped by youths in Egbung community, during a routine check of vehicles by members of a taskforce working along the highway in the community.
An eyewitness said when the truck was opened, it was discovered that it was laden with unused ballot papers belonging to Boki local government for 2015 state constituency election, as well as computer equipment and documents.
The eyewitness said the driver claimed to have the authority of INEC to move them from Calabar where he said he was coming from.
“After being interrogated by the task force, he then said he was not certain of his destination and this raised suspicion, and he was apprehended and the police was invited,” the eyewitness said.
Resident Electoral Commissioner for Cross River state, Dr Frankland Briyai, said he had been notified of the development and had reported it to appropriate security agencies for investigation.
He said he will speak more on the matter when investigations have been concluded.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Independent National electoral Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has vowed to surpass the 2015 record of his predecessor, Professor Attahiru Jega, in the conduct of free, fair and credible general elections this year.
The Jega-led INEC was applauded for conducting transparent and credible elections, a feat that endeared Nigeria to the rest of the world.
But the current INEC team, Yakubu assured, would improve on the feat achieved by his predecessor.
He spoke on Thursday while playing host to the German Ambassador to Nigeria, Bernhard Schlagheck, and German Secretary of State, Walter Lindner at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
The INEC boss said, the commission was determined not just to repeat the feat attained in the 2015 polls, but to surpass it in order to further affirm the maturity of Nigeria in democracy, and reinforce the confidence of Nigerians as well as the international community in the electoral body.
“We cannot afford to disappoint Nigerians; we shall not disappoint the international community. Each time we have visitors like you we have been encouraged. We are aware that the eyes of the world are on Nigeria for the reasons you have mentioned and more.
“We are also aware that in 2015, Nigeria conducted elections that were commended around the world. We have been beneficiaries of the elections. Each time we travelled on election observation around the world, not only to praise the achievements of Nigeria in 2015, but wish to learn on the experience of Nigeria,” he said.
Continuing, he said, “what Nigeria achieved in 2015, and what we hope to achieve in 2019 is not just in the handiwork of what you see in the commission, but also the commendation we received from the international community. So we appreciate these supports and I want to assure you that we will not let the world down. What happened in 2015 is certainly not a fluke; we hope 2019 will be a further affirmation of maturity of Nigeria’s democracy.”
Already, the INEC boss told his guests that “the long term observation mission from the
European Union is in Nigeria for the election, which is a further affirmation of the interest of the international community in our elections. But we are still willing to benefit in preparing for this election in our relationship with the international community.”
Earlier, Germany’s Secretary of State, Mr. Lindner, had reminded INEC that in 2015, Nigeria conducted election that was an example to the African continent and the entire world, which set a standard by which the 2019 general elections would be measured.
He charged the commission to be neutral so as to guarantee free and fair elections.
Lindner further noted that Germany and the rest of the world were interested in the political stability of the country, as Nigeria is the economic power house of Africa with over 200 million people.
The visiting German leader stated that whatever happens in Nigeria negatively has repercussion for the whole world, promising his country’s support to the nation’s electoral process.