The Independent National Electoral Commission has lamented the serial fire attacks on its offices in some states, especially in the South-East geopolitical zone.
INEC, however, stated that it will continue with its operations in the areas affected while summoning all Resident Electoral Commissioners across the states to an emergency meeting in Abuja on Wednesday.
The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, made this known in a statement issued on Friday and titled ‘INEC Local Government Area in Enugu State Set Ablaze.’
The statement partly read, “The spate of fire incidents involving the facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission in some states of the federation has unfortunately persisted. This time around, it is Enugu State, where the Resident Electoral Commissioner for the state, Emeka Ononamadu, has reported that the INEC office in Udenu Local Government Area was set ablaze.
“The latest tragic incident occurred around 8.40pm on Thursday, 13th May 2021. No casualties were reported. However, the office building was extensively damaged while electoral materials and office equipment were destroyed in spite of the best efforts of the Enugu State Fire Service to contain the inferno. The commission appreciates the intervention of the Fire Service.
“The attention of the Police has been drawn to this yet another very worrisome development for investigation.”
INEC to convene Abia inter-agency security meeting
INEC noted that it was the third incident involving INEC’s LGA offices in three states in less than two weeks.
“First, there was the destruction of the office in Essien Udim LGA of Akwa Ibom State on 2nd May 2021. This was followed by the fire at the Ohafia LGA office in Abia State on 9th May 2021,” the commission said.
The statement further read, “This is yet another setback to the commission’s ongoing activities and preparations for upcoming electoral activities.
“Following the attack in Abia State, the commission resolved to convene an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security next week to discuss this disturbing trend. The latest destruction of the commission’s physical infrastructure and electoral facilities in Enugu State calls for an immediate review of the measures necessary to secure INEC’s assets across the states.
“Consequently, the Commission is convening an emergency meeting with all the Resident Electoral Commissioners on Wednesday, 19th May 2021, in Abuja ahead of the meeting of ICCES.
“Meanwhile, the commission is determined to continue to discharge its responsibilities, including the conclusion of the expansion of voters’ access to Polling Units, resumption of the Continuous Voter Registration, capacity-building activities, the review of the draft Strategic Plan 2022-2026, engagement with stakeholders as well as all scheduled and pending elections.”