(CP-Africa) – The Vanguard Nigeria reports that four suspects were paraded by the Nigerian Police Force Airport Command on Friday in connection with the stolen Direct Data Capture (DDC) machines of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). It is expected that the suspects will soon appear in court.
The four suspects, Suleiman Issa, Mrs. Sumonu Modupe, Lawal Lateef and Bamidele Johnson were arrested early Friday by detectives of the Lagos State Police Force in the Akowonjo and Shasha areas of Alimosho in Lagos.
The Airport Command’s Commissioner of Police, Mr. Moses Onireti said the suspects have all made useful statements that will be helpful to the police force and that Yemi, a computer analyst at the popular computer village to whom they sold the items is currently on the run.
According to him, 20 Direct Data Capture machines were stolen. So far, 16 have been recovered but without their essential parts.
In a conversation with reporters, one of the suspects, Mrs. Modupe Sumonu of Samuel Street, Akowonjo narrated how they came about the computers.
According to her, “they (the rest of the suspects) told me they were playing football and Lawal said he wanted to go to toilet, normally they do go there, behind the fence which they share with the airport as their house is close to the boundary of the airport and Shasha. Lawal then called them to come and see something and that was how they came about the computers.
“I asked Lawal and he said as he bent down, he saw a patrol vehicle off-loading something, but he hid from the patrol vehicle as they would have arrested them if they were seen on the tarmac as the place is close to their house.
“Lawal said by the time the patrol left he went to see what they were off-loading and he discovered they were laptops. I asked how many and he told me they were 16. I told them this is dangerous that they should go and return them, but they started shaking, but Suleiman said nothing will happen.”
She continued, “since I don’t know how to operate computer, I said they should bring it out and behind it was written INEC and once he loaded the battery and switched it on, it showed Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I decided to call Yemi from the computer village,and he came; I told him to explain to these boys, Yemi said that this is a federal government property o. Inside the bag was a pair of scissors, CD players,a long camera and another thing they called charger. The only regret I have is that I invited Yemi into this case. I and Yemi advised them to return these computers, but they said they can’t do that for fear of what will happen.”
The stolen machines were part of the 6,000 brought into the country by a local firm contracted by INEC to import them. In response to the incidence, INEC spokesman Kayode Idowu said recently in a statement, “there are adequate safety features to forestall any nefarious use of the stolen items; as such, the integrity of the electoral processes would not be compromised.”
“The Commission urges all eligible Nigerians to turn out for the planned voter registration in January, and to work with INEC for the attainment of free, fair and credible elections in 2011,” he added.