The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday raised the alarm over the continuous attacks on its offices with the latest being in Anambra, Enugu and Imo states.
National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, announced the latest attacks at the end of the commission’s emergency meeting.
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According to him, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Anambra State, Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji, his Imo State counterpart, Prof. Francis Ezeonu, and that of Enugu State, Emeka Ononamadu, have reported that the attacks took place at various times last Sunday night.
In Anambra, Okoye said the state headquarters 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 Pavilion 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 6 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 to the state headquarters in the belief that it is more secure than the LGA offices.
“Similarly, as part of the commission’s proactive measures to ensure the success of the governorship election later this year, about 50 percent of the non-sensitive materials required for the November 6, 2021 governorship election already delivered to the state have also been lost in the fire. In addition, seven utility vehicles (Toyota Hilux) were burnt,” he said.
Similarly, a former governor of Niger State, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, has said that the spate of arson on states’ offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in parts of South East portends grave danger to the country’s flagging democracy and called for stringent measures to arrest the trend.
Aliyu stated this during an interview with newsmen when he noted that attacks by hooded persons on structures and facilities belonging to the electoral commission and the Nigerian Police needed to be addressed by the government.
By Abbas Jimoh (Abuja), Jude Aguguo Owuamanam (Owerri) & Romoke W. Ahmad (Minna)