With 106 days to the general elections and the sustained attack on The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) facilities in most part of the country, the egg heads in the Commission would be having an emergency security meeting to get to the roots of the attacks on Friday. Burnt office in Abeokuta, Ogun State On
With 106 days to the general elections and the sustained attack on The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) facilities in most part of the country, the egg heads in the Commission would be having an emergency security meeting to get to the roots of the attacks on Friday.
On Thursday morning, hoodlums attacked the Commission’s offices in Abeokuta Local Government in Ogun State and in Eded South Local Government in Osun State where critical election materials were destroyed.
Mr. Festus Okoye, INEC’s National Commissioner for information and voter education, said over 65,000 uncollected PVCs were destroyed in the fire. In a statement he issued, he said: “The resident electoral commissioner (REC) for Ogun state, Dr. Niyi Ijalaiye, reported that our office in Abeokuta South local government area was attacked and set ablaze,” he said in a statement.
“The incident occurred around 1.15am when some unidentified persons overpowered the security personnel on duty and set the entire building ablaze.
“The main building and all the commission’s movable assets in the office were destroyed. They include 904 ballot boxes, 29 voting cubicles, 30 megaphones, 57 election bags, 8 electric power generators and 65,699 uncollected permanent voters cards (PVCs).”
Okoye said the one of the commission’s offices in Osun was also attacked and set ablaze, and that an emergency security meeting had been called to get to the bottom of the electoral threats.
“Similarly, the resident electoral commissioner for Osun state, Dr. Mutiu Agboke, reported that our office in Ede South local government area was attacked and set ablaze,” he said.
“The incident occurred in the early hours of this morning when some unidentified persons attacked the building and set a portion of it ablaze.
“Fortunately, the damage to our Ede South local government [office] was limited to a section of the building and only some furniture items were destroyed.
“The attention of the Nigeria Police Force and other security and safety agencies has been drawn to the incidents and they have commenced investigation.”
Mr. Okoye said, with just 106 days to the 2023 general election when the commission has commenced the movement of materials to its offices nationwide, these simultaneous attacks are very worrisome.
He lamented that the rising incidents of attacks on supporters of various political parties since the commencement of campaign barely two months ago and the use of hate and incendiary language by some politicians are extremely disturbing.
According to him, INEC has convened an emergency meeting of the inter-agency consultative committee on election security (ICES) for Friday to discuss the disturbing trend.
He said “It is correct that our office was set on fire. The police are investigating. I do not know what to say. I’m in shock myself. “We called the police and other security agencies at night. The fire brigade put the situation under control. The level of damage is still being assessed.
“It is very shocking and untoward. The security agencies are doing their very best. We are meeting again later today to come up with other strategies (toward securing our facilities).”
A source said the store, the Registration Area Officer’s office, and the conference room were affected by the inferno in Ogun state where non-sensitive materials were also affected by the fire. “No life was lost and no injury was sustained in the fire,” the source disclosed.
Niyi Ijalaiye, the state INEC resident electoral commissioner, described the incident as “shocking”.