ADO-EKITI – Soldiers on Thursday arrested three men conveying a truck load of election materials meant for the gubernatorial elections in Ekiti State.
The materials were intercepted at Itawure Junction near Efon-Alaye, in Efon Local Government Area of the State.
The Brigade Commander, 32 Artillery Brigade, Akure, Brig.-Gen. Aliyu Momoh made the disclosure on Thursday night at media briefing.
He said his men, at a checkpoint in Itawure, stopped the men who could not provide satisfactory answers to questions posed to them by the soldiers.
The arrested men were Olufemi Ose, Segun Akanbi and Biodun Erinfolami.
NAN reports that the men were said to be driving a Mercedes Benz truck marked Lagos APP 952 XL which has the inscription of Adewole F Odunayo Enterprises on its sides.
Materials found in the vehicle included ballot papers, rubber stamps, ink pads, reflective jackets bearing the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), among others.
However, it was observed that the rubber stamps and ink pads bore 2014, but some of the ballot papers bore 2007 election and 2009 rerun governorship election marks.
Momoh, who said his men were not in the state to harass or molest anybody, warned against any attempt to cause trouble.
“We are not here to intimidate or harass anybody, but we want to sound a note of warning that whoever thinks he can cause trouble by engaging in funny things will be dealt with severely.
“You only need to have your voter card and use your thumb to print the appropriate area on the ballot paper.
One of the arrested men, Olufemi Ose, said he was contacted by somebody in Lagos to help convey beans to Akure.
He said that it was in Akure that another person asked him to come over to Ado-Ekiti to help him convey some waste items.
“We got here yesterday (Wednesday) and a vehicle was loaded before ours started loading in the early hours of Thursday,” he explained.
When asked where his truck was loaded, Ose said it was at INEC office in Ado-Ekiti.
When contacted, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Alhaji Halilu Pai, confirmed that the materials were actually loaded from their store in Ado-Ekiti but they were waste items.
“Those materials are what we call waste papers that have been auctioned to people.
“The materials were approved for the firm to move away for us to prepare for the coming election.
“The company has the approval of the national headquarters of INEC,” he said.
On the presence of rubber stamps and ink pads for the 2014 poll in the materials, Pai said there was no way they could have been there.
The REC said his office got approval from Abuja on April 3, this year to auction the materials and blamed the firm that got the job for coming late to pick them.
He also denied any compromise on the part of INEC and its staff.
Pai said that INEC did not think it necessary to inform security agencies on the movement of the materials since they are waste items that could no longer be used. (NAN)