Peoples Democratic Party lawmakers in the House of Representatives (HoR) have pointedly accused the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) of lying through its teeth about concerning telecom coverage in the country.
It also tacitly accused the leadership of the House of sidelining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the statutory recognised body on election matters to speak whether it could electronically transmit results.
In a statement signed by the party’s caucus leader in the House, Hon. Kingsley Chinda, titled, NLIED TO NIGERIANS ON ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION OF VOTES AND SHOULD FACE PROSECUTION, the PDP lawmakers, who were not in the House when All Progressives Congress (APC) members passed the Electoral Act Amendment Bill said:
“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.
“Officials of the NCC led by Executive Director, Ubale Maska, who represented the Executive Vice Chairman, Prof Umaru Garba Danbatta appeared and oath was administered on them consistent with the Section 5 of the Legislative House (Powers and Privileges) Act 2017.
“While testifying before the House, on the adoption of electronic transmission of results from the units, Ubale Maska 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”. His answers and body language 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 CABLE reported recently.
“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 etc.
“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.”