NEC: 47 Card Readers Missing, 22 Recovered in Bayelsa

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Dickson urges to halt misuse of security agencies

Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Bayelsa Mr. Monday Tom Udoh, yesterday disclosed that the commission had retrieved 22 Smart Card Readers out of the 69 stolen by alleged political thugs during the February 23 presidential and National Assembly elections in the state.

He noted that the independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will apply strict measures in areas where the machines are yet to be recovered.

The electoral umpire spoke even as the Governor of the state, Mr. Seriake Dickson, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the military to ensure professionalism in next Saturday’s polls.

Udoh explained that of the 24 missing card readers in troubled Nembe Local Government Area (LGA), only 14 had been recovered as at yesterday, while in Sagbama LGA, out of eight, three had been recovered.

In Southern Ijaw LGA, he added that of the 24 snatched by hoodlums, two were returned while in Yenagoa only three were retrieved from the six missing in the area.

Udoh, who made the revelation during a press conference at the commission’s headquarters in Yenagoa, lauded civil society groups, religious leaders, community chiefs, youths, women groups and major stakeholders for reaching out to some of the hoodlums before some of the cards were returned.

He said: “Election is not war; where there’s peace you find progress and development. So, by the time you kill those you are to lead what is the gain and who will you lead”

“Eighty five percent of the sensitive materials are already in the central bank and we cross-checked it with all party agents to show we are transparent”.

Meanwhile, Dickson has urged the President and the leadership of the various security agencies to charge their men to be professional in their duties as they resume for election duties in Bayelsa and other states of the South- south geopolitical zone.

Dickson, who was reacting to the fresh deployment of troops and other security agents to the state ahead of the elections, called on the President to prevail on the security chiefs to ensure that their commanders discharge their responsibilities with strict adherence to the laws to prevent a spontaneous nationwide crisis.

The governor said that while he was not opposed to the deployment of additional security men to maintain law and order in the society, he was against what he described as the unholy collusion between soldiers on ground and leaders of political thugs in the state.

He restated his demand to the Army High Command to redeploy implicated officers and men of the service involved in alleged brazen criminality in the last election.

“I wish to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to restrain from the abuse of our security personnel and electoral officers in the next election.

“The service chiefs and the security commanders must be professional, and emphasise the right thing in all their actions in order not to cause a spontaneous nationwide crisis and instability.