By G9ija

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has arraigned a university professor who served as a collation/returning officer in the 2019 general elections in Akwa Ibom State.

Professor Peter Ogban of the University of Uyo in the state capital was the collation/returning officer for Akwa Ibom North-West National Assembly election.

He was arraigned on Tuesday on two counts of manipulation and falsification of results before a State High Court in Ikot Ekpene Division by INEC.

The don was arraigned for allegedly manipulating the scores of two political parties, as well as falsifying and announcing fake results in Etim Ekpo and Oruk Anam Local Government Areas of the state.

According to INEC, the offences are punishable under Sections 1 and 123, Subsection 4 of the Electoral Act, as amended.

When the matter came up for hearing, counsel to the defendant, Anthony Ekpe, made an oral application for bail on liberal terms for his client.

The prosecution counsel, Kpoobari Sigalo, did not oppose the application.

The presiding judge, Justice Augustine Odokwo, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N300,000 and a surety in like sum.

The judge held that the surety must show evidence of tax payment in the last three years and adjourned the hearing of the case until December 15.

In his reaction, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom, Mike Igini, said the arraignment was in line with INEC’s commitment to ensuring the credibility of elections.

He added that three members of staff of the commission have also been dismissed for electoral offences, and four others were being investigated.