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2019: Fear Heightens Over Plot To Hack INEC Database


Abuja – A coalition of civil society groups, under the aegis of C24, which seeks to promote good governance and electoral integrity, has raised the alarm over threats to the electoral process by sophisticated IT hackers.

Intelligence agencies in the country have reportedly also expressed similar fears.

The fears are based on observations that politicians are out to rig the 2019 elections.
Security sources told Daily Independent that there had been attempts at hacking the INEC IT mainframe recently.

On its part, C24 said it was aware that politicians had hired sophisticated hackers from Asian countries with a view to invading the IT mainframes of INEC in order to alter election results in favour of preferred candidates on election day.

According to the group, it would be a second step in the series of plans to undermine the 2019 general election in February.

This much was disclosed by Dennis Aghanya, Executive Secretary of Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative (ARBDI) and Chairman of C24.

He said: “The end game is to remote-control the outcome of our elections in 2019 by hacking INEC servers and taking control of her website to upload fictitious result in favour of their paymasters, thereby determining electoral outcomes against the run of ballots, contrary to the expressed will of voters.”

He linked steps by some politicians and civil rights groups to enforce 100 percent electronic voting in 2019 as part of the plot.

Currently, President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to assent to the amended Electoral Act already passed by the National Assembly.

There had been speculation that the presidency was withholding assent to the bill because of the electronic voting section of the proposed law.

Speaking further on the election, Aghanya lampooned alleged moves by the opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to hire a foreign PR firm to help it launder its image abroad.

He advised that such monies should be spent on credible PR firms in the country.

“Is PDP saying that there are no better media practitioners in Nigeria?” Aghanya asked.

But reacting to these claims, Eshanekpe Israel, Coordinator, National Coalition of Niger Delta Ex-Agitators (NCNDE-A), condemned the slant of C24’s call on the public.

He said while it was normal to express fears over the possibility of hijacking the electoral process, it was not, however, wise to link calls on President Buhari to assent to the new Electoral Bill to an alleged game plan by some desperate politicians to hijack the electoral process.

“By the same token, we can allege that C24 is merely crying wolf so that the more pliant electoral process can be left for the incumbent to rig himself back to power,” explained Israel.

According to the ex-agitator, C24 should come out in the open to name names instead of hiding in the shadows.

But Daily Independent learnt that INEC’s servers were hacked as recently as last month.
This much, it gathered from highly placed intelligence sources.

As gathered, too, the perpetrators were highly sophisticated ‘hactivits’ (as hackers are called), with state and none state actors backing them.
“This is not new really because there were attempts to hack the card reader recently.

“We are also aware that hactivits from largely Asian countries have been looking with interest at Nigeria with a view to controlling our election outcomes,” said an intelligence source.

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