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[PHOTOS] Hoodlums set ablaze INEC office in Enugu, destroy 700 ballot boxes, other election devices

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) local government office in Igboeze north, Enugu state has been set ablaze by hoodlums.

Technocrat Media

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) local government office in Igboeze north, Enugu state has been set ablaze by hoodlums.

In a statement signed by Festus Okoye, its national commissioner, information and voter education, INEC disclosed the development on Monday.

Emeka Ononamadu, the resident electoral commissioner for Enugu state, reported that the attack happened at 11.48 pm on Sunday.

According to INEC, the arsonists overpowered the security guards, forced their way into the premises, and set the building ablaze.

The burnt office of INEC in Igboeze north, Enugu state. Credit: INEC

The statement reads: “Although no casualties were reported, 748 ballot boxes, 240 voting cubicles, office furniture, and equipment were destroyed in spite of the best effort of the Enugu State Fire Service deployed from Nsukka.

“The Commission is working to ascertain the status of voter registration machines for the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise as well as uncollected Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) locked up in the fireproof cabinet.

“The incident has been reported to the  Nigeria Police for investigation and further action.

“The attack, coming in the middle of the voter registration exercise and other preparations for the 2023 General Election, is worrisome. It will be recalled that on 23rd May 2021, our office in the neighbouring Igboeze South Local Government Area was attacked in a similar manner by unknown gunmen. 

The burnt office of INEC in Igboeze north, Enugu state. Credit: INEC

“This followed earlier attacks on Udenu Local Government Area office on 13th May 2021 and the State Headquarters in Enugu on 16th May 2021. The Commission has since substantially recovered from these attacks and resumed normal activities there, including the CVR and collection of PVCs.

“The Commission will continue to work with the security agencies and the emergency services to protect our facilities.”

In 2021, the Commission raised alarm over the spate of increase in the destruction of its properties by hoodlums in the south east.

INEC said if unchecked, the attacks may constitute a setback on the Commission’s preparations, including the ongoing conversion of voting points to polling units, and the forthcoming continuous registration of voters exercise and the conduct of polls.

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