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Presidential Poll: INEC Wiped Off Results In BVAS, Forensic Expert Tells Court

- June 23, 2023

 A digital forensic expert subpoenaed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) in Abuja, has alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) wiped off the results of the February 25 presidential election from the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines used for the poll.

The PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, are challenging the declaration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu by the INEC, as the winner of the 2023 presidential election.

The petitioners had insisted that data from the BVAS machines, which were used for the accreditation of voters and uploading of polling unit results, would establish their allegation that the presidential election was rigged in Tinubu’s favour.

Mounting the witness box on Thursday, at the PEPC, the witness, who identified himself as Hitler Nwala, alleged that the presidential election results contained in the BVAS machines deployed for the conduct of the elections were deleted by the INEC.

While being led in evidence by Chris Uche, lead counsel for the petitioners, told the court that he specifically inspected and conducted forensic analysis on 110 BVAS that were deployed for the conduct of the presidential election in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

According to him, upon his enquiry, the electoral body maintained that it had to wipe off the information in the BVAS to be able to redeploy them for the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections that were held on March 18.

Uche described the evidence of the witness as very vital to the case of his clients “considering that it was the first that we had a technologically driven election in this country.”

However, all the respondents in the petition faulted the claim and urged the court led by Justice Haruna Tsammani to reject the witness’ report.

Specifically, during cross-examination of the witness, counsel to INEC, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), said the sample size the witness relied on to write his report was small, compared to 3,263 BVAS devices deployed during the presidential election.

He argued that the sample the witness based his report on represented only about 3.5 percent of the total device the INEC deployed in FCT and 0.06 percent of the total BVAS that was used for the presidential election across the country.

Shortly after the witness was discharged by the court, the petitioners tendered from the Bar, bundles of certified copies of INEC’s Forms EC8A from 20 Local Government Areas, LGAs, in Ogun state.

The documents were tendered through a member of Atiku’s legal team, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN).

Equally tendered in evidence by the petitioners were certified copies of polling unit results (Form EC8A series) from 17 LGAs in Ondo state, 27 LGAs in Jigawa as well as 20 LGAs in Rivers State.

While the respondents objected to the documents, the Justice Tsammani panel accepted the documents in evidence and marked them as Exhibits in the matter.

Meanwhile, the court has adjourned proceedings till Friday to enable the petitioners to close their case.

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