A suspect was on Friday arrested for allegedly collecting Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) temporary voters’ cards from some unsuspecting residents at Igoke Ward B area of Agbado Oke-Odo Local Council Development Area on the pretext that he would assist them in obtaining the Permanent Voters’ Cards.
The suspect (name withheld) who was reportedly first interrogated at the Oke-Odo Police Station before being transferred to the State CID Panti, according to an eye witness, was caught with over 100 Temporary Voters’ Cards and INEC forms which he was collecting from the residents on the pretext that he was an INEC official.
The arrest was made possible through the vigilance of one of the residents of the area, who observed many people milling round the suspect, thereafter confronted him and subsequently raised an alarm. Realizing that the game was up, the suspect claimed to be an INEC official but when asked to produce his Identity Card, he could not.
The suspect reportedly confessed at the Oke-Odo Police Station that he was sent alongside some other people on a special assignment of collecting the Temporary Voters’ Cards of residents by a chieftain of the major opposition party in the State in the Ward M1 Ajape area of Agbado Oke-Odo Local Council Development Area.
Speaking on the incident, the member of the State House of Assembly representing Alimosho 1 Constituency, Hon Bisi Yussuf described the incident as a case of serious fraud especially against the background that INEC has not even started the distribution of Permanent Voters’ Cards in Lagos.
He said the lesson to be learnt is that everyone has to be vigilant as the election approaches, adding that it is very clear that for parties that are not popular and cannot mobilize they may resort to manipulation which would not be allowed.
He added that the case portends a very dangerous trend which could derail the nation’s democracy and wondered why a party would send agents out to coerce people to surrender their temporary voters cards’, adding that it could be an indicator of what is happening in several parts of the State and the country in general.
Responding to a reporter’s question on how the suspect could have come about the INEC Forms, Hon Bisi Yussuf said the Police is still interrogating the suspect and would get to the root of the matter.
He expressed absolute faith in the ability of the Police to treat the case with all the seriousness it deserves and dismissed speculation that the suspect may be let off after pressures from certain quarters.
The official distribution of INEC Permanent Voters’ Cards is billed to commence in Lagos State on November 7, 2014.