‘No cause for alarm on 1500 ballot boxes found in Bauchi’ [Photo]

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has cleared the air on the truck load of 1550 ballot boxes intercepted in Bauchi State on Friday.

It would be recalled that tension swept through Bauchi State political space on Friday following the interception of a truck load of 1550 ballot boxes expected to be used in next year’s elections.

According to The Nation newspaper report online, transparent white empty ballot boxes were on Friday intercepted by state security operatives on the Darazo -Dukku road, 110 kilometres from Bauchi state capital.

It was disclosed that the boxes were found in a 24 feet container trailer with registration number plate, Abuja XE784 ABJ driven by one Mohammed Shaidu.

When queried on the destination of the ballot boxes, Shaidu informed that they were destined for Gombe State.

The driver added that, “About 30 vehicles carrying the same materials and quantity have gone to other states in the Northeast.”

He expressed shock for his ‘detention’ when all the security men should have done was to cross-check from INEC after “I presented my waybill.”

Bauchi State Organiser of Buhari Campaign Organization, Aliyu Sa’idu Abubakar, while speaking on the case, said: “we in APC have not accused anybody but we want to be sure that things are properly done; no more business as usual. Our people, progressive Nigerians, have to be vigilant.”

However, rumour spread that the boxes were stuffed with thumb printed ballot cards.

It was gathered that in a bid to douse the tension, the security men at the scene opened the boxes in the presence of police, state security and INEC officials, reporters and representatives of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the Police Area Command head office Bauchi.

Speaking on the incident, Bauchi state Police spokesman, DSP Haruna Mohammed appealed to the public to always cross check their information to avoid being misinformed.

Also, Kayode Idowu, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, when contacted on the matter, stated that there was no cause for alarm.

He confirmed that the boxes indeed belong to the commission and were being moved by the contractor to Bauchi and Gombe states ahead of next year’s elections.

Idowu said the contractors ought to have got security escorts for the consignment and has been directed to seek such escorts for the remaining consignment.

Meanwhile, latest reports informed that the truck in question has since been released.

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