Some university lecturers who allegedly aided malpractices in the 2019 general elections in Akwa Ibom State would be arraigned any moment from now, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said.
The body said the Collation and Returning Officers during the 2019 General elections allegedly manipulated and falsified election results.
It added that it dismissed three members of staff in its Akwa Ibom State office who were allegedly linked to the electoral malpractice.
The INEC Head of Department, Voter Education and Publicity, in Akwa Ibom State, Odaro Aisien, disclosed these in a statement on Tuesday.
He said, “The lecturers who were engaged as Collation and Returning Officers during the 2019 general elections were reported to have manipulated and falsified election results aimed at producing outcomes contrary to the will of the people as expressed through the ballot.
“Following a formal request by the commission, the authorities of the affected institutions released the lecturers to appear before an investigative panel set up by INEC headquarters on August 12 and 26, 2020.
“The panel subsequently established a prima facie documentary evidence of deliberate criminal manipulation of election results against the Collation/Returning Officers. They will be arraigned in court accordingly.
“This should be a lesson and a clear message to all ad hoc staff, particularly those that would be engaged as Supervising/Presiding Officers and Collation/Returning Officers in future elections in this state as well as other places where the commission would be conducting elections in the days and months ahead.
“Similarly, the commission, in the exercise of its statutory powers to appoint, dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over its staff, has dismissed three members of staff of the commission in Akwa Ibom State office who were involved in misconduct during the elections.”
The statement noted that prior to the 2019 general elections, the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State, Mike Igini, had repeatedly warned all INEC staff, both permanent and ad hoc, to shun acts likely to compromise the electoral process and undermine the efforts of the commission and the confidence of the electorate.