INEC defying court order for forensic inspection of BVAS – Imo LP alleges


The Labour Party in Imo has alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is denying it access to BVAS used for the November 11 Governorship Election.

The party’s Chairman, Mr Callistus Ihejiagwa, who said this while addressing newsmen in Owerri on Saturday, added that the denial of access to the BVAS was in defiance of a November 26, 2023 order of the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Owerri.

Saga Gist reports that applications for inspection of the materials were submitted to the INEC by the LP, PDP, YPP and APGA respectively.

Ihejiagwa said the forensic inspection of election materials including the BVAS is contained in the order of the Tribunal.

According to him, INEC had on Wednesday, denied availability of the BVAS for inspection, insisting that only the commission’s headquarters reserved the right to grant access to the BVAS for inspection.

He said the commission, however, made available only 65 out of over 5,000 BVAS machines for inspection but denied the LP’s team of forensic experts access to the machines.

He wondered why INEC would “deliberately frustrate the process of litigation “ in an election where it was only an umpire.

“Contrary to orders of court for forensic analysis of BVAS machines, an INEC official is reading out figures of accreditation from the machines without allowing us access to Certified True Copies of the card copies for our due diligence.

“ We have less than 24 hours to examine the BVAS machines, assemble and present our findings to the Election Petition Tribunal but here we are still awaiting access to the machines

“The Tribunal ordered for forensic inspection of the BVAS so the BVAS is specifically contained in the Tribunal order “, he said.

Also speaking, Counsel to the LP governorship candidate, Senator Athan Achonu, Mr Okwudili Anozie, emphasized that the tribunal’s order for forensic examination of the BVAS machines would help ensure that the machines have not been tampered with before and after the election.

He decried INEC’s disobedience to the order while restating the party’s confidence in the judiciary for the dispensation of justice.

Saga Gist, however, recalls that INEC’S Head of Voter Education and Publicity, Mrs Emmanuella Ben-Opara had, on Tuesday, confirmed that the materials requested for inspection were all ready and waiting to be inspected.

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