Three members of staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have been arrested for creating an illegal permanent voter’s card registration unit at St Brigid’s Catholic Church, Ijeshatedo, Lagos.
The INEC officials, Mrs Rita, Mr Ikechukwu Izuchukwu and Miss Agbokhna Ebigun, were apprehended by men of the Ijeshatedo police station for conspiring with a parish priest of the church to use the church’s auditorium to register members.
Their arrest followed a complaint by the Chairman, Residents Association, Raji Azeem, to the police who alleged of moves by the church to disenfranchise some members of the public.
He said, “The INEC registration officers, according to INEC provision should be stationed at 9A, Imam Thanni but this was not to be.
“We have been here awaiting their arrival but when we discovered that they were not forthcoming, we were worried.
“Only for us to discover that they have been camped at the St Brigid’s Catholic Church auditorium on the influence of the parish priest registering only members of the church while we were in the queue waiting.
“It was a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise us.
“The House 9A Imam Thanni registration centre has remained a constant polling unit since 1983. But the priest decided to play the religious cards by inducing the electoral officers to register only his church members.
“The church members have been around since 5 am but we were unaware of their plan until we busted them in action and handed them over to the police at the Ijeshatedo police station. The arrested INEC officers have been crying and begging for their misdeeds.
To enable them continue with their work, the INEC officials were granted bail by the IPO, Inspector Shola who instructed them to return after the exercise and that they should discontinue the exercise at the church hall and move to the venue approved by INEC.”