The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday reported further attack on its offices in three South East states
The Commission, which disclosed this in a statement it released after its emergency session in Abuja,on Monday 24th May 2021,stated that it’s facilities in Anambra, Imo and Enugu came under serious attack last Sunday.
In the statement which was signed by its National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Publicity (VEP) Festus Okoye the commission noted that “The Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC) for Anambra State, Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji; his Imo State counterpart, Professor Francis Ezeonu, and that of Enugu State, Emeka Ononamadu, have reported that the attacks took place at various times on the night of Sunday, 23rd May 2021.
“In Anambra the State headquarters office in Awka was set ablaze in the most devastating onslaught on the Commission’s facilities so far.
“The attackers were systematic and selective in their targets. 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.”
INEC stated that as part of its proactive measures to ensure the success of the Governorship election later this year, “about 50% of the non-sensitive materials required for the November 6, 20201 Governorship election already delivered to the State have also been lost in the fire. In addition, seven utility vehicles (Toyota Hilux) were burnt.”
INEC stated that similar incident took place at its office in Ahiazu Mbaise Local Government Area where there was also 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.
“At about 1.00pm yesterday, our Igboeze South LGA office was attacked. 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.
“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.
“The attacks on the Commission’s facilities have now become a national emergency. Accordingly, the Commission will brief the Government and stakeholders on these incidents.
“In spite of these setbacks, the Commission is determined to continue to discharge its responsibilities including the conduct of the scheduled Anambra Governorship election.” The commission assured.