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Imo LP accuses INEC of blocking access to BVAS despite court order

“The tribunal ordered for forensic inspection of the BVAS, so the BVAS is specifically contained in the tribunal order,” Mr Ihejiagwa said.

• December 1, 2023
INEC and LP logo
INEC and LP logo

The Labour Party in Imo has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of denying it access to inspect the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System machine (BVAS) used for the November 11 Governorship poll.

The state chairman of the party, Callistus Ihejiagwa, made the accusation at a news briefing in Owerri on Friday.

Mr Ihejiagwa said that the denial of access to the BVAS was in defiance of the November 26 order of the election petitions tribunal, sitting in Owerri.

Applications for the inspection of the materials were submitted to the INEC by the LP, PDP, YPP and APGA, respectively.

The tribunal had, on November 26, given INEC until December 1 to make election materials available to the LP for inspection and forensic analysis.

Mr Ihejiagwa also said that the forensic inspection of election materials, including the BVAS, was part of the order of the tribunal.

According to him, INEC had, on Wednesday, denied the 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 that the commission, however, made available only 65 of over 5,000 BVAS machines for inspection and 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 the 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 own due diligence.

“We have less than 24 hours to examine the BVAS machines, assemble and present our findings to the 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,” Mr Ihejiagwa said.

Also, Okwudili Anozie, the counsel for the LP governorship candidate, Sen. Athan Achonu, said that the tribunal’s order for forensic examination of the BVAS machines would help ensure that the machines were not tampered with before and after the election.

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

INEC’S head of voter education and publicity, Emmanuella Ben-Opara, on Tuesday, confirmed that the materials requested for inspection were ready and waiting to be inspected.

(NAN)

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