PDP Reps call for prosecution of NCC for lying to Nigerians over electronic transmission of votes
... Say 3G reached 74.2% coverage in Nigeria by 2019
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus in the House of Representatives has called on prosecuting authorities to immediately arrest the officials of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) led by Executive Director, Technical Services, Ubale Maska for lying to Nigerians that the country does not have network coverage to enable electronic transmission of election results.
Sequel to the stalemate over the electronic transmission of results in the Electoral Act Amendment, the House summoned NCC to guide it and when the Agency caused appearance, Ubale who spoke on behalf of the delegation that represented the Executive Vice Chairman, Umaru Danbatta, said only 50% of Polling Units accross the country have 3G network that can enable such transmission.
Guided by this, the House passed section 52 of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill which leaves electronic transmission of election results at the mercy of INEC and went ahead to adopt a motion by Majority Leader of the House, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa that: “amendments such as card reader, electronic and technological devices deleted”.
But PDP lawmakers most of whom had staged a walk out before the passage of the Bill in a statement by their Leader, Kingsley Chinda said NCC only lied to Nigeria to kill electronic transmission of votes to suit a particular interest.
Chinda noted that a perusal of NCC Website even today (Tuesday) showed that the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 (P .33) says that by September 2019, the “Spread of 3G/LTE” had reached 74.2% in Nigeria .
He accused the NCC official of relying on 2018 data in 2021, when he knew or ought to know that internet penetration has advanced substantially in Nigeria since 2018 .
“Furthermore, MTN,(See their Website) recently announced that they have achieved an extensive nationwide network coverage of 89.9 percent. This is just MTN, not to talk of other Networks.
“Perhaps the worst form of perfidy, deception and outright lies is for NCC to hide the Memorandum of Understanding between NCC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in 2019”, the lawmaker said.
According to Chinda, recent report by The Cable indicated that: “During preparations for the 2019 general election, Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, had in January 2018, visited the NCC to discuss collaboration that would enhance the electoral process.
“A joint technical committee of INEC and NCC was subsequently formed with a mandate to map out strategies that would reduce human interventions in the transmission of election results. The committee was headed by Maska and co-chaired by Muhammed Lecky, an INEC national commissioner.
“After several meetings and engagements, it was then recommended that the “INEC/NCC joint technical committee should consider and adopt the traditional data communication service from MNOs using APN as the most appropriate solution for the electronic transmission of election results”.
He said the icing on the cake is the categorical declaration by INEC through its Spokesperson, Festus Okoye that the Commission has the capacity to transmit election results from any part of the country, no matter the terrain has put the final nail on the coffin of the purveyors of the falacy that it cannot be done.
The Rivers State born lawmaker recalled
that electronic transmission of election results was recently deployed by INEC in Edo and Ondo governorship polls as well as Borno, Kaduna bye-elections.
China stated that: “Officials of the NCC led by Executive Director, Ubale Maska, who represented the Executive Vice Chairman, Prof Umaru Garba Danbatta appeared and oath was administered on them consistent with the Section 5 of the Legislative House (Powers and Privileges) Act 2017
“For a witness to be sworn under Section 5 of the Legislative House (Powers and Privileges) Act 2017, then proceed to lie under oath and give false evidence to the House is an offence under Section 7 of the same Act.
“We call on the prosecuting authorities to immediately arrest the officials of the NCC, under Prof Danbatta and all those who procured Ubale Maska and other officials to lie under oath to be criminally investigated and where found culpable, be brought to justice by standing criminal trial”.