Two people, including a security staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have been arrested by the Department of State Security Services (DSS) for extorting unsuspecting registrants before allowing to participate in the ongoing continuous voter registration (CVR) exercise in Rivers State.
Their arrest was revealed by INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Obo Effanga.
In an interaction with newsmen in Port Harcourt, Effanga said the security staff attached to the commission’s office in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, was arrested by agents of the DSS and would be prosecuted when investigations were concluded.
He said second suspect was a community youth leader from Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, who was apprehended by INEC personnel and handed over to the Nigerian Police.
The INEC REC said: “There is a security staff of INEC in Obio/Akpor who was arrested by the DSS. They are still doing their investigation and will definitely prosecute him.
“After then, we were also able to nab one community member from that area who was also extorting money from people at the INEC centre there. We have handed him over to the Police.”
Effanga insisted that majority of those involved in the extortion of people who want to register for their permanent voter’s cards (PVCs) were not INEC officials.
He said, “INEC officials requesting for tips before assisting people to register is not necessary at all. We have said it over and over again that if any staff demands for money let us know.
“Like I explained to some persons, there are some people who are not INEC officials who are involved in this. Let me explain this: In this process, we have two things people can do; if you are a fresh person and has not registered before, you need to come to an INEC office or registration centre to register so that we can capture your fingerprints and take your pictures.
“But, there are a lot of other services during this period which you can actually do at home. If you have a smartphone, you can go online and do a transfer request for a new card, request for a replacement for a damaged card or lost card or make corrections to your name. You can do that without coming to an INEC office,” he said.