Monday, June 21, 2021

Incessant burning down of our offices, setback to conducting credible elections — INEC

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Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/ibrahim.ramalana, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has described the incessant fire incidents at its offices as another setback to its ongoing activities and preparations for upcoming electoral activities.

The INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Fdstus Okoye, stated this in Abuja on Friday while reacting to the recent fire incident at its Udenu Local Government Area, LGA office, Enugu State.

Mr Okoye expressed worry that the spate of fire incidents involving the facilities of the commission in some states had unfortunately persisted.

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“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 LGA was set ablaze.”

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He said that the latest tragic incident occurred at about 8.40 pm on Thursday, but no casualties were reported.

He, however, said that 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.

He said that the commission appreciated the intervention of the fire service.

Mr Okoye said that the attention of the Police had been drawn to the yet another very worrisome development for investigation.

“This is the third incident involving INEC’s Local Government offices in three states in less than two weeks.

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“First, there was the destruction of the office in Essien Udim LGA of Akwa Ibom State on May 2.
“This was followed by the fire at the Ohafia LGA office in Abia on May 9.

“This is yet another setback to the Commission’s ongoing activities and preparations for upcoming electoral activities.”

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Mr Okoye recalled that following the attack in Abia, the Commission resolved to convene an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security, ICCES, next week to discuss the disturbing trend.

He said that the latest destruction of the Commission’s physical infrastructure and electoral facilities in Enugu state called for an immediate review of the measures necessary to secure INEC’s assets across the states.

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“Consequently, the Commission is convening an emergency meeting with all the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) on Wednesday, May 19, in Abuja ahead of the meeting of ICCES.”

The national commissioner, however, expressed the commission’s determination to continue to discharge its responsibilities, including the conclusion of the expansion of voters’ access to polling units.

Others, according to him, include resumption of the Continuous Voter Registration, CVR, capacity-building activities, the review of the draft Strategic Plan 2022-2026, engagement with stakeholders as well as all scheduled and pending elections.

NAN

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