A team of soldiers and policemen attached to Operation Mesa (OP MESA), a combined secu¬rity operations established by Ogun State under the Security Trust Fund, has intercepted an Uyo, Akwa-Ibom-bound lorry fully loaded with 3,600 ballot boxes belonging to the In¬dependent National Elec¬toral Commission (INEC) at Odogbolu in Ijebu axis of the state.
According to informa¬tion gathered by Business¬Day, the combined team also arrested a man (name withheld) in connection with the confiscated vehi¬cle conveying the alleged stolen ballot boxes meant for Uyo, before it was inter¬cepted along Sagamu-Benin road.
Confirming the inter¬ception through a phone call in Abeokuta, Muyiwa Adejobi, police public rela¬tions officer, Ogun State command, said: “A team of soldiers (OP MESA) attached to 35 Artillery Brigade, Ala¬mala intercepted a vehicle at the Odogbolu axis of the Sagamu-Ijebu-Ode express¬way containing about 3,600 ballot boxes.
“After they couldn’t as¬certain the authencity of the ballot boxes, they were handed over to the Police at the Ijebu-Ode Area Com¬mand to commence inves¬tigation. Right now, we had 3,600 ballot boxes belong¬ing to Independent National Electoral Commission.”
Although, Adejobi re¬vealed that some officials of INEC at Wharf-Apapa in Lagos had claimed that the consignment was meant for Uyo in Akwa Ibom and had genuine documents which the contractor would tender when it showed up for collection at Police headquarters in Abeokuta, he, however, declared that Police might not release without valid documents.
Some top officials of INEC at Wharf have called us to say that the consign¬ment belongs to INEC and that the ballot boxes are meant for the INEC office at Uyo, Akwa-Ibom.
“The INEC officials said that the contractor or agent would come to the Police headquarters with relevant documents to clarify the authencity of the vehicle. The items are with us at the command while we are waiting for the relevant documents of the items.”
On the authenticity of the ballot boxes, the Police public relations officer said “it is too early for us to say that those items are illegal, but with information we have, we have been told they are owned by INEC.