By Omeiza Ajayi – Abuja
The office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia state has been set ablaze by hoodlums.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye, disclosed this in a statement issued Monday in Abuja.
According to him, the Resident Electoral Commissioner for the State, Dr. Joseph Iloh had reported that INEC’s recently renovated office in the local government was set ablaze on Sunday night.
“There are no casualties on the part of our staff on guard duty but the building was virtually destroyed. Apart from furniture items, all electoral materials and office equipment were destroyed”, he stated.
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Explaining that the matter has been reported to the police for investigation, INEC recalled that only last week, its office in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State was attacked and expressed anxiety about the impact of such attacks on electoral activities, including the ongoing expansion of voter access to Polling Units, resumption of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), pending bye-elections, end-of-tenure elections and ultimately the 2023 General Election.
“The latest incident in Abia State is one too many. This is not the first attack on the Commission’s facilities in the State in recent times. Five months ago on 13th December 2020, the INEC LGA office in Aba South was completely burnt down while that of Arochukwu LGA was vandalised and ransacked in October 2020.
“These facilities are national assets, which must be protected. Accordingly, the Commission is convening an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) next week to discuss this disturbing trend.
“Meanwhile, the Commission wishes to reassure Nigerians that all activities in relation to the ongoing expansion of voter access to Polling Units and preparations for the resumption of CVR as well as all scheduled elections will proceed as planned”, the commission added.