Forensic expert: INEC removed the presidential election results from FCT BVAS.

by Amos Kalu
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Hitler Nwuala, a digital forensic expert, testified before the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) in Abuja that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) purposefully deleted all of the presidential election results from the Federal Capital Territory’s (FCT) Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines in order to prepare for the March 18 governorship election.

The forensic expert who served as Atiku Abubakar’s (PDP) 26th witness claimed to have examined 110 BVAS devices used during the presidential elections in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and insisted that all the machines he examined had their data purposefully erased.

Nwuala insisted during cross-examination by INEC’s attorney, Abubakar Mahmoud, that because the FCT did not have governorship elections, it was unnecessary for the electoral authority to erase the presidential election result data from BVAS machines used there.

Chris Uche, the lead attorney for the petitioners (Atiku and PDP), led the witness in his testimony. The witness informed the court that he inspected 110 BVAS machines as sample material from the FCT and filed a report on his study into the BVAS.

Despite the respondents’ protests, the report was subsequently allowed as evidence and designated as exhibits.

The petitioners then submitted a certificate of conformity to show that the report had been in accordance with the Evidence Act.

The petitioners then submitted a certificate of conformity to show that the report had been in accordance with the Evidence Act.

During cross-examination, Nwuala, a witness who has been subpoenaed to testify in court, stated that because there is a deviation in the relatively small sample space of the 110 samples that were examined, “it is likely to increase as the number of sample size increases.”

The expert witness said that his research demonstrated that the Federal Capital Territory’s presidential election results were purposefully removed from the BVAS system.

His testimony to the court stated that he “worked on 110 BVAS machines, which formed the primary source of information for his forensic report.”

He said that only FCT machines had been examined and that he had no idea when the machine’s results had been erased.

The witness claimed that in order to conduct his research, he fitted a standard device to the BVAS machine during cross-examination by Abubakar Mahmoud, counsel for INEC.

However, INEC refuted his assertion, arguing that it was false because he did not examine every machine, but the witness stood by his position.

Mahmoud demonstrated a BVAS computer for the court and urged the witness to access it and provide evidence that the data had been wiped.

The witness claimed that accessing the system directly was improper from a professional standpoint.

We don’t directly reach the source of the evidence, he stated. We take the information out of one source and access it in another.

“If we access it right away, the information will alter and tamper with the proof. To tamper with evidence that will be used as support in court is unethical on a professional level.

The BVAS had to be examined in court, claimed INEC. But Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani, the head of the five-person panel, informed the attorney that the allotted time for his cross-examination had passed.

In the meantime, Wole Olanipekun, the attorney for Tinubu, drew attention to discrepancies in the forensic report on the number of machines examined by the witness.

The witness said in court that the differences indicated by the numbers were typographical errors, notwithstanding the senior advocate’s suggestion that the report might also be rife with problems.

By submitting certified exhibits in four additional states of the federation, Atiku and his party persisted in their fight against President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s declaration of victory in the election.

The INEC Form EC8A that was submitted as an exhibit is a certified true copy, and it was used by the electoral body to conduct the presidential election.

Twenty local government areas in Ogun, seventeen in Ondo, twenty in Rivers State, and seventy in Jigawa were the locations where the sensitive documents were tendered.

The court accepted the exhibits despite INEC, Tinubu, and the All Progressives Congress (APC), the petition’s three respondents, fiercely objecting to their acceptance.

Until Friday, June 23, more hearings on the petition have been postponed.

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