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INEC arraigns don in Akwa Ibom for alleged electoral fraud

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Case adjourns to December 14
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Akwa Ibom State has arraigned Professor Ignatius Uduk for alleged involvement in electoral fraud during the 2019 general elections.

Uduk, who was a Collation and Returning Officer for the State House of Assembly election in Essien Udim constituency in the poll is the second lecturer to be arranged by INEC for electoral fraud.

He was arraigned yesterday at the State High Court, Uyo on a three-count charge of abandoning his duties, generating and allocating scores same in form EC 8E(II) thereby committing an offence punishable under section122, subsection 1 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.

The university teacher was also charged for announcing and circulating fake election results contrary to and punishable under section 123, sub-section 4 of the Electoral Act 2010.

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He was also charged for perjury and lying on oath, contrary to section 119, subsection 1 of the criminal code laws of Akwa Ibom State 2000.

When the matter was mentioned for hearing, the accused pleaded not guilty to the three-count charge.

However, counsel to the accused, Samuel Ndah, filed application for bail on behalf of his client, which was opposed by prosecution counsel, Kpoobari Sigalo.

According to the counsel to INEC, the commission had to oppose the bail application of the defendant due to his questionable character.

Addressing newsmen at the Court premises, the Counsel to INEC, Sigalo said: “Last time we were in this court, a bench warrant was issued against the accused. I am sure it is because of the bench warrant that the accused filed application for bail.

“So today he actually came to court and took his plea and his counsel has asked for his bail. We actually opposed the bail application. When we filed our counter affidavit in opposition to the bail as we saw in court that the matter has been adjourned to December 14, 2020 for ruling on the application.”

Sigalo further argued that the accused had in a written application, told INEC that he did not declare anybody winner in the election, only for him to appear at the election tribunal to say otherwise.

“And when the commission invited him, instead of the accused to come and debrief us on what happened, he threatened fire and brimstone in writing that if INEC invited him again to explain anything, he would go to court of competent jurisdiction,” he said.

Having heard Sigalo’s argument, the presiding Judge, Justice Archibong Archibong, adjourned the matter to December 14, 2020 for ruling on the bail application.

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