The police in Anambra State yesterday arrested over 1,000 non-indigenes, who were participating in the voter revalidation at Igbariam, Anambra East Local Government Area.
Policemen from Otuocha zone swooped on them, impounding vehicles, including three luxury buses owned by GUO and the Young Shall Grow. Police spokesman Emeka Chukwuemeka said the Otuocha zone has not filed in any report but police sources said the Commissioner of Police, Bala Nassarawa, has been briefed as well as the Director of the State Security Service (SSS). It was gathered that the “voters” were brought in from Jos, Plateau State, Lagos, Abuja and other parts of the country.
The suspects confessed they were brought in by supporters of an aspirant, who promised them N5,000 once they were registered. A trader from Jos, Bonaventure Ofiaeli, said although he is
from Ozubulu, he came to register at Igbariam in Anambra East. He said: “I didn’t know anybody in the bus but my friend. Others can answer for themselves. Some came from Lagos and others from Nnewi
but I and many of these people came from Jos. “We came because they told us that this aspirant would sponsor our trip home to get our voter card. When we arrived, the bus dropped
us at Igbariam, opposite the Igwe’s palace. I don’t know the name of the Igwe.
“I have not voted before that was why I came. I can only speak for myself and my friend. “We arrived on Friday and there were too many people trying to register. The queue was too long and we could not make it so I told my friend that we had to go before we were arrested.”I didn’t know that it was going to turn out this way because there were so many people. We were over 500 people this morning struggling to register.
Resident Officer 1 and 2 at the Ofala polling unit 013, Ward 5 Igbariam, Olawale Alausa from Lagos State and Bassey Joseph from Akwa Ibom State corroborated the suspect’s story. Alausa said: “All these problems developed yesterday. Our job is to explain to them the implication of multiple registration but the crowd that turned up was something else. “There were a lot of people but we didn’t know where they came from because that was not part of our brief. “It was only when we were arrested and I came out that I saw
these luxury buses and mini buses.”
Chairman of Anambra East Local Government Chinedu Obidigwe, who invited the police, said the youths of Igbariam informed him that there were lots of strange faces in their community.
He said: “I drove to the scene to get first-hand information. On interrogating the drivers and the people, they confessed they were brought from different parts of the country by an aspirant. They said even
their cards were collected from them after registration. “I am calling on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to stop all these illegal voting and registration, because
what happened here is happening in all parts of the state. But nobody is talking.” A driver of GUO Luxury bus, Ikechukwu Odi, said his company directed him to Igbariam to drop the people.
Another driver, Osita Nzeako, said his company sent him on charter from Jos and that was all he knew. Three suspects- David Okonkwo an indigene of Obowo in Imo State, Jerome Onwudiwe from Eziowelle, Idemili South and Joseph Oyudo from Nibo, Awka South Local Government- said they were brought from Jos to be registered sponsored by the aspirant.