Senator Hope Uzodinma representing Imo West and his sister were arrested for alleged electoral malpractices at Omuma, Oru East Local Government Area of Imo State on Saturday by a combined team of policemen and soldiers.The Senator who was later released on self-recognition, allegedly mobilised hoodlums who set bonfires on the road to prevent the security men from taking away the suspects.
It took a reinforcement of soldiers and men of the Department of State Security to rescue the policemen and take the suspects to the Police Headquarters in Owerri, where they were detained.
Also, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Job Doma, arrested 25 officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Imo State for alleged thumb printing of ballot papers during the election rerun exercise on Saturday.
Some of the suspects were said to have been picked after a tip off at Osu Primary School, Omuma, where they were allegedly engaged in massive thumb printing for one of the political parties.
Also arrested were fake INEC officials who posed as Returning Officers at the Collation Centre.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Edo State, Mr. Mike Igini, who was in the INEC team deployed for the election, said some INEC officials were arrested at Umumma Primary School Ward 10, Polling Unit 008, 003 and three others.
“Myself, accompanied by the Assistant Inspector-General of Police and the Commissioner of Police have arrested poll officials in Oru-East involved in mass thumb printing and are now being taken to Owerri.
“Upon my suspicion, I caught an impostor who claimed to be INEC staff without proof, acting as a presiding officer; l ordered his arrest and it was executed by the Police,” Igini said.
But INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner in Imo, Dr. Gabriel Ada, while confirming the arrest, told our correspondent that identities of those arrested had yet to be confirmed to him as of press time.
He noted that the suspects were ad hoc staff of INEC.
When contacted, the Police Public Relation officer, Andrew Enwerem, said he had yet to be briefed on the incident.
Meanwhile, a recent defector from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressive Congress, Mr. Rex Anunobi, was kidnapped in Oru-East LGA by thugs suspected to be working for a political party.
According to a witness, Anunobi, who hails from Nkwere, was said to have been abducted while working as an observer at Omuma.
The politician was, however, rescued by the Police after giving his abductors a hot chase.