THE Bayelsa State Command of the Nigerian Hunters and Forest Security Service has recovered no fewer than 320 Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) in an uncompleted building inside a forest along the Immiringi/Ogbia road in the state.
Bayelsa State Commandant of the Service Moses Okano disclosed this in Yenagoa on Wednesday.
Okano said the PVCs, hidden in a bag by hoodlums, were discovered during a routine patrol in the area on Tuesday.
While also handing over the recovered PVCs to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials in Bayelsa State, he explained that the hoodlums absconded upon the arrival of the hunters at the scene.
Okano said: “In our routine patrol, I led the operation on Tuesday. We have been combing the bushes because of the happenings we have been hearing in the bushes. We started from Azikoro went through Elebele.
“In the course of our going round, we ran into an uncompleted building in the bush and we heard some noise and with our usual way of operation to ascertain those who are there, the people on sighting started jumping out through the windows of the uncompleted building.
“So, we were able to enter into the building and what we saw was the abandoned voter cards. So, knowing fully well that these are Federal Government property and the only authority empowered or authorized by law to keep custody of these items is INEC, we have to recover them and decide to bring them to the Commission.”
The INEC administrative secretary Okop Umo-Obong, commended the Nigerian Hunters and Forest Security Service for bringing the cards to the Commission and for keeping the neighborhood safe.
Uno-Obong received the PVCs on behalf of the Bayelsa State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Alex Hart.
He assured the public that the Commission would investigate the circumstances that led to the cards being found in the forest.
According to him, the investigation would determine whether the PVCs were abandoned in the process of printing or belong to voters.
Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M