Expert Witness Says All Results Were Deleted on 110 BVAS Machines
An expert witness, Mr Hitler Nwala, has testified before the Presidential Election Petition Court, stating that all results on the 110 BVAS machines he inspected were deleted. Mr. Nwala, who is a Digital Forensic Analyst and a witness of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, gave evidence as an expert witness for the petitioners in their challenge to the outcome of the February 25 presidential election.
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was the only location where the digital forensic expert inspected machines. He was led in evidence by Mr. Chris Uche, SAN, the lead counsel to the PDP, who questioned him on his conclusion. Mr. Nwala stated: “I attached a standard device used for such an exercise to the machine to arrive at the conclusion.”
When Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud, counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), cross-examined the witness, he asked if Mr. Nwala had the authority of the commission to attach an external device to the BVAS machine. Nwala answered in the affirmative. However, Mahmoud then asked the witness if he knew checking only 110 machines out of 3,163 deployed in the FCT amounted to only 3.4% of the total number of BVAS machines deployed in the FCT, and 0.06% of BVAS machines deployed nationwide. Nwala replied that he only compiled the report and didn’t calculate the percentages he inspected.
Counsel to the All Progressives Congress, Mr. Lateef Fagbemi, told the witness that neither he nor any of his team members signed the six-volume forensic report. However, the witness insisted that he signed the report and certificate of compliance. Counsel to President Bola Tinubu, Mr. Wole Olanipekun, SAN confronted the witness with a part of the report that indicated no intrinsic faults were found with the machines during inspection.
The expert witness said he was not in Abuja, so he could not have known if something went wrong with the machines on the day of the election. After discharging the witness, the petitioners tendered Forms EC8A series from 20 local government areas of Ogun, 27 local government areas of Jigawa, 17 local government areas of Ondo, and 20 local government areas of Rivers.
Justice Haruna Tsammani adjourned the hearing of the petition until Friday.