Attack On Our Offices a National Emergency, Says INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that the attacks on the commission’s facilities in some parts of the country have now become a national emergency.
A statement signed by the national commissioner and chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of the Commission, Barr. Festus Okoye, on Monday in Abuja, also said INEC offices in Anambra, Enugu and Imo States have been set ablaze in the latest incidents.
Okoye said the State Headquarters office in Awka was set ablaze in the most devastating onslaught on the Commission’s facilities so far.
He stated that the attackers were systematic and selective in their targets. He said the pavillion, which serves as Collation Centre during major elections was burnt down.
“In what is a major blow to our preparations for the Governorship election scheduled for 6th November 2021, two stores housing electoral materials were burnt down.
“New and old (but serviceable) electric generating machines numbering 376 for all the Electoral Wards and the extra numbers for backup were completely burnt. The electric generators were recently relocated from the Local Government Areas (LGAs) to the State HQ in the belief that it is more secure than the LGA offices,” he said.
In Imo State, he said the INEC office in Ahiazu Mbaise local government area was attacked at about 6:45pm in an obvious attempt to set the building ablaze.
“Fortunately, the damage was limited to a section of the building, specifically the windows and part of the roof. No electoral materials or office equipment were destroyed, he said.
Meanwhile, in Enugu State, he said its offices at Igboeze South LGA office was also attacked.
Okoye noted that the store was completely burnt down before the Neighborhood Watch and the Enugu State Fire Service responded and prevented the inferno from razing other parts of the building.
He continued: “This is the third attack on INEC facilities in the State in less than two weeks following the destruction of our Udenu LGA office on 13th May 2021 and the State Headquarters building in Enugu on 16th May 2021.
“All three incidents in Anambra, Imo and Enugu have been reported to the Police for investigation.
“Although no lives were lost, these are clearly orchestrated and targeted attacks aimed at incapacitating the Commission in conducting electoral activities, especially in Anambra State.”
Accordingly, the Commission will brief the government and stakeholders on these incidents in due course.
“In spite of these setbacks, the Commission is determined to continue to discharge its responsibilities including the conduct of the scheduled Anambra Governorship election,” he said.
The Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC) for Anambra State, Dr Nkwachukwu Orji; his Imo State counterpart, Prof. Francis Ezeonu, and that of Enugu State, Emeka Ononamadu, reported that the attacks took place at various times on the night of Sunday, May 23, 2021.
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