As the crisis in the Imo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the conduct of the May 5 Ward Congress in the state festers, the police have arrested four suspects in connection with the alleged disappearance of sensitive materials meant for the exercise.
According to a statement yesterday by the Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Jimoh Moshood, the suspects were arrested yesterday in their hideout in a hotel in Abuja for criminal conspiracy, forgery, theft and unlawful possession of APC ward and local government electoral materials meant for the party’s congress in Imo State.
Moshood gave the names of the suspects as Engr. Ikpamezie Innocent, 39, from Mbaitoli Local Government Area of Imo State; Lawrence Archibong, 34, from Akpabuyo LGA of Cross Rivers State; Kelechi Affonne, 27, from Isiala Ngwa North LGA of Abia State; and Joseph Martins, 28, from Ivo LGA of Ebonyi State.
The Force spokesman listed the items recovered from the suspects to include 68 APC Ward Congress result sheets; six APC LG Congress result sheets; six LG APC Ward Officers and delegates list for the aborted May 5, APC Ward congress elections; and 130 APC delegates nomination forms.
The statement read: “About 1400hrs of today being May 12, 2018, operatives of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Special Tactical Squad on a tip-off trailed and arrested the above mentioned suspects in Seredib Hotel at Wuse II, Abuja, while in the act of manipulating and entering data into result sheets of the Imo State APC Ward Election result sheets. In their possession were the above listed exhibits of ward and local government electoral materials of six local governments in Imo State, namely; (i) Ikeduru (ii) Ahiazu Mbaise (iii) Ngor-Okpala (iv) Owerri West (v) Owerri Municipal (vi) Mbaitoli. “The principal suspect, Engr. Ikpamezie Innocent, 39, from Mbaitoli LGA of Imo State, who admitted to be the Special Adviser on Electoral matters to Senator Hope Uzodimma representing Orlu Senatorial District of Imo State currently in the Senate confessed that all the electoral materials were given to them by Dr. Iyke Njoku, Zonal Coordinator, Owerri Municipality to Senator Hope Uzodimma representing Orlu Senatorial District of Imo State in the Senate. “All the suspects admitted and confessed to the various criminal roles they played in the commission of the crime.
Investigation is in progress and effort is being intensified to arrest Dr. Iyke Njoku and other suspects still at large. All the suspects will be arraigned in court on completion of investigation.
“The Nigeria Police Force is determined to ensure violence free and credible elections across the country in the forthcoming 2019 general election. The Force has, therefore, put in adequate security arrangement to guarantee free and fair elections from primary elections of all political parties to the period of nomination and campaigns and the election proper throughout the 36 states and the FCT.”