LP/Obi’s witnesses contradict each other at election tribunal

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Two witnesses of the Labour Party (LP) and Peter Obi contradicted themselves yesterday on the conditions to be met by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before deploying technology.

A cyber security expert, Dr. Chibuike Ugwuoke, said it was a statutory requirement under the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Act that technologies to be deployed by INEC must meet the ISO 27001 2013 standard.

He added that INEC must first obtain authorisation from NITDA to deploy such technologies.

But, the Head of the Legal Services Department at NITDA, Emmanuel Edet, said such requirements do not exist under the NITDA Act.

“The NITDA Act does not contain any cyber security standard code – ISO 27001 2013,” Edet told the tribunal.

Ugwuoke and Edet were subpoenaed by Obi and the LP to testify before the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC).

Ugwuoke, who said he was engaged by the petitioners to investigate information on INEC Results Viewing (IREV) portal, had tendered his report on Wednesday, in which he claimed to have discovered multiple uploads and strange objects instead of results.

Under cross-examination yesterday by INEC’s lawyer Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), he insisted on his claim that ISO 27001 2013 was a statutory minimum standard requirement for any organisation intending to deploy technologies.

Although Ugwuoke claimed not to know the Section, he said what he wrote in his statement was copied from the Act.

Ugwuoke said the petitioners recruited him on March 10; that produced a preliminary report on March 17/18 and the final report in mid-May.

Edet, while being led by petitioners’ lawyer, Patrick Ikwueto (SAN), said his agency did not have documents requested by Obi and the LP, concerning the permission granted to INEC to deploy technologies for election and the status of the technologies.

He said the NITDA Act did not contain any requirements about ISO 27001 2013 on cyber security.

The witness also said no provision in their Act makes reference to INEC.

Edet confirmed that the claim by the former Communication and Digital Economy Minister Isa Pantami that there were about 16 million attempts to hack INEC IT infrastructure during the last presidential election emanated from his agency (NITDA).

Earlier, Hitler Uwala, an expert witness called by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, admitted there were errors in the forensic report he produced for Atiku and his party.

Testifying as the 26th petitioners’ witness, he played down the errors by describing them as “title errors.”

Under cross-examination by the lawyer of President Bola Tinubu, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Uwala admitted discrepancies in his report about the actual number of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines he examined.

The hearing continues at 9am.

The Nation

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