By Tunde Oguntola, Abuja
A recently renovated office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ohafia local government area has been set ablaze.
The commission described the latest incident in Abia State as one too many, adding that this is not the first attack on the commission’s facilities in the state in recent times.
A statement by the national commissioner and chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Barr. Festus Okoye, made available to LEADERSHIP on Monday in Abuja, said the resident electoral commissioner (REC) for the State, Dr Joseph Iloh, reported that the incident occurred late on Sunday night on May 9, 2021.
The electoral body said there were no casualties on the part of its staff on guard duty but the building was virtually destroyed.
The commission said furniture items, all electoral materials and office equipment were destroyed.
The matter, he said, has been reported to the police for investigation.
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The statement reads in part: “This is not the first attack on the Commission’s facilities in the State in recent times.
“Five months ago on 13 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.”
Consequently, the electoral body said it will convene a meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) next week on the development.
“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.
“It will be recalled that only last week, the Commission reported an attack on its office in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State 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,” Okoye said.
Meanwhile, the commission has reassured Nigerians that all activities in relation to the ongoing expansion of voter access to Polling Units and preparations for the resumption of continuous voters registration (CVR) as well as all scheduled elections will proceed as planned.c