Soldiers on Thursday arrested three men conveying a truck load of election materials meant for the gubernatorial elections in Ekiti State.
The men who were driving a Mercedes Benz truck marked Lagos APP 952 XL with the inscription “Adewole F Odunayo Enterprises” on its sides, were intercepted at Itawure Junction near Efon-Alaye, in Efon local government area of the state.
Briefing newsmen about the incident on Thursday night, the brigade commander, 32 Artillery Brigade, Akure, Aliyu Momoh, a brigadier general, said his men stopped the men who could not provide satisfactory answers to questions posed to them by the soldiers.
Momoh gave the names of the arrested men as Olufemi Ose, Segun Akanbi and Biodun Erinfolami.
He said the suspects were found with election materials such as ballot papers, rubber stamps, ink pads, reflective jackets bearing the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, among others.
After careful inspection of the materials, it was observed that the rubber stamps and ink pads bore 2014, while some of the ballot papers bore 2007 election and 2009 rerun governorship election marks.
When interrogated further, one of the arrested men, Olufemi Ose, said he was contacted by somebody in Lagos State to help convey beans to Akure, but that when he got there he was invited by another person to Ado-Ekiti to help dispose some waste items.
He said his truck was loaded with the materials at the state INEC office in Ado-Ekiti.
When contacted, INEC resident electoral commissioner in the state, Halilu Pai, confirmed that the materials were actually loaded from their store in Ado-Ekiti but insisted that they were waste items.
“Those materials are what we call waste papers that have been auctioned to people. The materials were approved for the firm to move away for us to prepare for the coming election.The company has the approval of the national headquarters of INEC,” he said.
On the presence of rubber stamps and ink pads for the 2014 poll in the materials, Pai said there was no way they could have been there.
The REC said his office got approval from Abuja on April 3, this year to auction the materials and blamed the firm that got the job for coming late to pick them.
He also denied any compromise on the part of INEC and its staff.
Pai said that INEC did not think it necessary to inform security agencies on the movement of the materials since they are waste items that could no longer be used.
The Ekiti State Governorship election is scheduled to hold on June 21.