A High Court sitting in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom, has sentenced an INEC returning officer, Prof. Peter Ogban, to 36 months imprisonment for election fraud.
Delivering judgment, Justice Augustine Odokwo, also ordered Ogban to pay a fine of N100, 000 for count 2, which is falsification of result in Etim Ekpo/Oruk Anam collation centre during the 2019 National Assembly election on Feb. 24.
Ogban, who acted as the Collation/Returning Officer in the 2019 National Assembly elections was standing trial for allegedly manipulating and falsifying the scores of election results in Oruk Anam and Etim Ekpo Local Government Areas.
Justice Odokwo sentenced Ogban after he pleaded for leniency.
He pleaded for leniency on the premise that he has dependents including a 90-year-old mother to take care.
Ogban added that he was a respectable member of his community and a very valuable and sought after lecturer in the department of Soil Science, both in the University of Uyo and Calabar.
Earlier, Counsel to the defendant, Mr Anthony Ekpe, had prayed the court to pardon his client, saying the act for which Ogban was found guilty had no effect on the said elections.
He argued that as a Professor of Soil Physics and Conservation, the accused was highly sought after in the academic world and should not be deprived of his freedom.
Speaking after the judgment to newsmen, the defence counsel said he would appeal the judgment of the High Court.
However, counsel to INEC, Mr Clement Onwenwunor, commended the judge for a sound judgment.