Two officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) charged with electoral fraud during the Feb. 23, 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections yesterday failed to appear in court for their arraignment.
The officials, Sulaiman Ikhuoriah and Olugbenga Omotiloye, were scheduled to be arraigned before Justice Yusuf Halilu of an FCT High Court, Maitama.
The office of Attorney-General of the Federation charged them with falsifying results in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidates against the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidates in the elections held in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo.
Ikhuoriah was said to have served as the Collation Officer for Ward 6 in Saint Maria Gorreti Secondary School, while Omotiloye was an electoral officer at Bishop Kelly, beside St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Airport Road, Benin City.
The alleged infractions of the two officials of the electoral body were investigated by the DSS in Edo.
The duo was initially billed for arraignment before the court on March 10 but the court did not sit that day.
However, when the matter was called yesterday, both defendants were absent in court, prompting the judge to ask the counsel from the Office of the AGF of their whereabouts.
The prosecution told the court that the DSS had yet to bring the two defendants to Abuja from Edo State.
Justice Halilu, however, frowned at the inability of the prosecution to bring the defendants to court.
According to him, the court was not a warehouse where the prosecution would only come and file the case against the defendants and subsequently do nothing about it. He then told the counsel from the OAGF that he would not give the prosecution any date, saying, however, that, “If you bring them (from Edo State) today, bring them tomorrow to court for arraignment,” he said.
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