CBN bars journalists from sorting of sensitive materials in Imo, Kebbi
• INEC reconfigures card readers in Adamawa, retrieves items in Gombe, Borno
Officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday in Owerri barred invited journalists from entering its premises to cover the sorting of sensitive election materials kept with the bank by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Those who were prevented on the instructions of the apex bank are, Charles Ogugbuaja (The Guardian); Ndidi Okodili (The Nation); Chinazo Ilechukwu (FRCN) and Chidi Amadi (Imo State Broadcasting Corporation).
Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Professor Francis Chukwuemeka Ezeonu, had invited the journalists for the event for 10:00 am at INEC headquarters close to CBN’s Office through the commission’s Public Relations Officer in the state, Mrs. Emmanuella Ben-Opara.
But after waiting for about an hour, Ben- Opara, was said to have received a directive to inform the journalists to go back to their offices, as they would not be allowed to witness the event.
The same scenario played out in Kebbi State where newsmen were bared from CBN Office, venue of the distribution of sensitive materials in spite of being invited by the state REC, Ahmed Mahmud.
A man identified as Mr. Ajayi, who is believed to be CBN’s Chief Security Officer (CSO), descended on the journalists, shouting on top of his voice and saying he was acting on orders from above.
Also, INEC will today commence distribution of non-sensitive election materials to the 21 local government areas of Adamawa State.
The state’s REC, Kassim Gaidem, stated this yesterday in Yola while administering oath of neutrality on INEC’s staff members, saying the commission was interested in ensuring due process in conducting the polls and not who wins the elections.
In Gombe State, the commission disclosed that it retrieved all sensitive election materials distributed on February 15, 2019 to the 11 local government areas of the state.
Its REC, Umar Ibrahim, disclosed this in statement in Gombe yesterday, adding that the materials have been returned to the state branch of CBN.
“All smart Card Readers earlier deployed have also been retrieved from the local government areas and reconfigured for the Saturday, February 23, 2019 elections,” he said.
Meanwhile, Borno State REC, Mohammed Ibrahim, has said sensitive election materials have been retrieved from the 27 local government areas and handed over to the CBN for safe keep.
Ibrahim disclosed this in Maiduguri, while briefing journalists on how to secure and deploy electoral personnel to the 3,933 polling centres and eight Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) voting centres.