The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has declared a national emergency on the sustained attack at its offices and facilities, especially in the South-East geopolitical zone of the country.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, disclosed this in a statement on Monday after the commission’s emergency meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC) for Anambra State, Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji; his Imo State counterpart, Professor Francis Ezeonu, and that of Enugu State, Emeka Ononamadu.
According to him, the commission has resolved to formally brief the Federal government and stakeholders of the emerging security threats.
In Anambra State he said the ,“State Headquarters office in Awka was set ablaze in the most devastating onslaught on the Commission’s facilities so far”.
According to him “the attackers were systematic and selective in their targets. The Pavillion which serves as Collation Centre during major elections was burnt down.
“In what is a major blow to our preparations for the Governorship election scheduled for 6th November 2021, two stores housing electoral materials were burnt down.
“New and old (but serviceable) electric generating machines numbering 376 for all the Electoral Wards and the extra numbers for backup were completely burnt.
“The electric generators were recently relocated from the Local Government Areas (LGAs) to the State HQ in the belief that it is more secure than the LGA offices.
Also, he said “as part of the Commission’s proactive measures to ensure the success of the Governorship election later this year, about 50% of the non-sensitive materials required for the November 6, 20201 Governorship election already delivered to the State have also been lost in the fire. In addition, seven utility vehicles (Toyota Hilux) were burnt.”
Mr Okoye, however, disclosed that the smart card readers were not affected by the arson having been stored in a secure location.
In Imo State, the commission disclosed that it’s office in Ahiazu Mbaise Local Government Area was attacked at about 6.45pm in an obvious attempt to set the building ablaze.
“Fortunately, the damage was limited to a section of the building, specifically the windows and part of the roof. No electoral materials or office equipment were destroyed”.