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An attacked INEC office

03.12.2022 Featured Attacks on INEC Facilities ‘Could Have Negative Consequences on Elections’

Published 3rd Dec, 2022

By Tarinipre Francis

Festus Okoye, national commissioner and chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee, has raised concerns about the persistent assaults on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) offices across the country.

Okoye lamented the assaults on the commission and its facilities, and expressed concerns about how they might impede preparations for the 2023 general election.

Video of razed INEC office in Orlu, Imo State

According to him, following another attack on the commission’s office in the Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State on Thursday, three construction workers were kidnapped, and the facility was damaged and partially set on fire.

READ ALSO: Over 7m Online PVC Applicants Failed to Complete Process, INEC Reveals

In the last three weeks, the commission has been targeted four times. On November 10, an unknown number of undistributed voter cards, ballot boxes, polling booths, and other election materials, as well as INEC facilities, were destroyed in the fires that engulfed the INEC offices in Abeokuta, Ogun State, and Ede, Osun State.

Likewise, on November 27, the INEC office in Ebonyi State’s Izzi Local Government Area was set on fire, resulting in the destruction of electoral supplies and the commission’s property.

READ ALSO: REPORTER’S DIARY: Inside Shomolu INEC Office Where Nigerians Are Defying the Odds to Get PVCs

Attacks on the commission are not new and are reminiscent of the violence that occurs during each election cycle. In a press conference held in November, Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC’s chairman, revealed that the commission had suffered 50 attacks in 21 states.

Prior to these four attacks, which happened within a month, INEC had recorded an attack on their Enugu office in the Igboeze North Local Government Area on July 3 and another on April 14. They latter was orchestrated against the commission’s officials performing the continuous voter registration exercise in the Ihitte Uboma Local Government Area of Imo State, leading to the death of one of the staff.

“The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Imo State, Professor Sylva Uchenna Agu, reported that our office in Orlu Local Government Area was attacked. The incident occurred yesterday, Thursday, 1st December 2022,” INEC said in a statement.

“The building, which is undergoing extensive renovation following an earlier attack, was vandalised and partially set ablaze.

“Three out of seven construction workers were abducted but later released.

“The damage would have been more extensive but for the quick response of the Nigerian police, which has deployed its personnel to the site.

“This is one attack too many. The commission once again expresses its concern over the spate of attacks on its facilities and the negative consequences on our preparation for the 2023 General Elections.”

Published 3rd Dec, 2022

By Tarinipre Francis

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