The hearing resumed before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja yesterday, with a collation agent, Mr. Bukar Petrol, narrating how the Civilian Joint Task Force, JTF, allegedly rigged election in favour of President Muhammadu Buhari in Borno State. Petrol told the Justice Mohammed Garba-led five-man panel tribunal that members of the JTF high-jacked the electoral process and allocated votes to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC after Boko Haram insurgents dispersed voters with five bomb attacks.
He testified as to the 27th witness of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who are challenging the declaration of President Buhari as the winner of the presidential contest that took place on February 23. According to the witness who said he served as local government collation officer for the PDP, owing to “peculiar security situation in Borno State” occasioned by incessant Boko Haram attacks, all the polling units in Tambuwal LGA where he served, were situated at the same location. He said: “Almost everything was done in one particular place which is the headquarters of the LGA. There were 10 Wards and 100 polling units because of Boko Haram. It is an unfortunate situation we have in the LGA with Sambisa forest by our left and Chibok by our right.
“You cannot access any point without a security escort. What I am saying can be confirmed by security agencies. Voting started late because of the deliberate action of the electoral officers. Distribution of sensitive and non-sensitive materials did not start until 8:30 am. “Voting started at exactly 10:03 am. I monitored to make sure materials were distributed at the various polling units.” ‘B-Haram struck on polling day’ He told the tribunal that Boko Haram struck on election day.
Narrating how the alleged rigging took place, the witness said: “After the explosion, the civilian JTF took over proceedings. They did not allow me to perform my task because I was supposed to work with other agents. “ They took over everything from the INEC officials and exploited the situation to rig election for the APC. I reported the incident to the Divisional Police Station, the Military Intelligence, the Criminal Investigation Bureau, Head of Mopol and to the head of the National Orientation Agency.
“Though the report to my party was in writing, my report to the five agencies was verbal because I went to meet them at the collation centre and reported to them.” Petrol’s testimony tallied with that of a witness that gave evidence before him, Adam Amsani, who told the tribunal that he refused to sign a mutilated result (sheet) that was handed to him after the presidential poll.
I refused to sign mutilated result — Witness
Amsani, who testified as to the PW-26, said he also served as a collation agent for the PDP, adding that he could not sign the result because it was altered in the form EC8A that was handed to him. Besides, the witness alleged before the tribunal that agents of the PDP were sent out of the collation point by security personnel in conjunction with APC agents. INEC adjourns Presidential Collation till Monday(Opens in a new browser tab) Alleging that the mutilation of the result was done by the State Collation Officer, he said: “I was there when the mutilation took place and I even protested. I refused to collect and sign the result at the local government because the alteration happened in front of me.”