The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus in the House of Representatives has tackled the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) over its claims that electronic transmission of results by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was not possible in the country.
Recall that officials of the NCC, led by its executive director Ubale Maska, who represented the executive vice chairman, Umaru Garba Danbatta, while testifying before the House, on the adoption of electronic transmission of results from the units, claimed that the 2018 Technical Report of the NCC showed that only about “50 percent of the polling units had 3G while 49 percent had 2G network and below”.
But the PDP Caucus Leader, Rep Kingsley Chinda in a statement issued on Wednesday said NCC officials lied to Nigerians while on oath and as such, must be prosecuted for misleading Nigerians.
“It was a show of shame on the floor of the House of Representatives on Friday, July 17, 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 NCC to appear to discuss issues on the ability or otherwise of INEC to handle electronic transmission of votes.
Chinda said the answers and body language of the NCC’s official “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 percent in Nigeria.
“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 INEC in 2019.
“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.”
“The icing on the cake is the categorical declaration by INEC through Festus Okoye, their spokesman that INEC 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 fallacy that it cannot be done. Electronic Transmission has recently been deployed by INEC in Edo, Ondo, Borno, Kaduna elections.
“It is obvious that there are fifth Columnists and anti-democratic elements who are afraid of a 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.
“We must maintain the integrity of our laws and sanctity of our institutions as a nation,” the statement said.