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Hoodlums set INEC office ablaze in Abia

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Ohafia Local Government, Abia State has been allegedly set ablaze by hoodlums that stormed the premises.
During the attacks, furniture items, all electoral materials, and office equipment worth millions of Naira were said to have been destroyed by the fire that raged for several hours.
Confirming the attack on Monday, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, stated that the incident occurred yesterday night and that there were no casualties on the part of our staff on guard duty but the building was virtually destroyed.
Okoye, in a statement made available to newsmen, hinted that the attack on its facility in Abia has been reported to the Nigerian Police for an immediate investigation to arrest the perpetrators.

The statement reads: “The Resident Electoral Commissioner for the State, Dr. Joseph Iloh, reported that INEC’s recently renovated office in Ohafia Local Government Area has been set ablaze”.

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.
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.

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