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Electoral Act: NCC Lying Under Oath – PDP Reps

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The Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives has accused the leadership of the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) of deceiving Nigerians on the alleged inability of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to use electronic devices to transmit election results from all polling units in the country.

The caucus alleged that some fifth columnists and anti-democratic forces were bent on truncating the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in the country.

In a statement by its leader, Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers), the PDP House caucus noted that while NCC officials, led by Prof Umar Dambatta, should be tried for lying under oath, those who made them to tell the lie should also be investigated and tried.

Chinda said: “Electronic transmission has recently been deployed by INEC in Edo, Ondo, Borno, Kaduna elections, among others. It is obvious that there are fifth columnists and anti-democratic elements who are afraid of free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria.

“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.”

The lawmaker added: “It was a show of shame on the floor of the House of Representatives on Friday, July 16, 2020, during the consideration of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

“The comedy of errors started by the House stopping INEC from appearing before the House to prevent the nation from learning the truth and allowing only the NCC to appear to discuss issues on the ability or otherwise of INEC to handle electronic transmission of votes.

“Officials of the NCC, led by Executive Director (Executive Commissioner), 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.

“While testifying before the House, on the adoption of electronic transmission of results from the units, Ubale Maska claimed that the 2018 Technical Report of the NCC showed that only about ‘50 per cent of the polling units had 3G while 49 per cent had 2G network and below’. “His answers and body language clearly betrayed his intense desire to mislead the House and the nation.

“He cleverly sought to rely on 2018 data in 2021, when they knew or ought to know that internet penetration has advanced substantially in Nigeria since 2018.

“Indeed, a perusal of NCC website, even today, shows that the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 (P. 33) says that by September 2019, the “spread of 3G/LTE” had reached 74.2 per cent in Nigeria.

“Furthermore, MTN (see their website) recently announced that they have achieved an extensive nationwide network coverage of 89.9 per cent. 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 (MoU) between NCC and INEC in 2019…”

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