THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says 65,699 uncollected Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) were destroyed after hoodlums set fire on its offices in Ogun and Osun states on Thursday.
Chairman INEC Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said 904 ballot boxes, 29 voting cubicles, 30 megaphones, 57 election bags, and eight electric power generators were also destroyed in the arson attacks.
The attacks occurred separately at the commission’s offices in Abeokuta South Local Government Area of Ogun State and the Ede South Local Government Area Of Osun State.
Okoye, in a statement, said both incidents occurred in the early hours of Thursday, noting that while the entire building of its Abeokuta office was set ablaze, a portion of its Ede office was burnt.
The INEC national commissioner said security agencies have commenced investigations into the attacks.
An emergency security meeting had been convened to get to the bottom of the attacks, which are seen as a threat to the forthcoming general elections.
“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.
“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,” parts of the statement said.
Okoye also said the Commission has convened an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) for Friday, November 11, to discuss the “disturbing trend” of political violence.
“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,” he lamented.
The ICIR reported that the INEC office at Iyana Mortuary in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, was set on fire by suspected hoodlums in the early hours of Thursday.
It was gathered that the hoodlums, numbering about eight, reportedly jumped the fence into the premises and set the INEC building on fire from the back.
After invading the premises, the hoodlums reportedly soaked loaves of bread with petrol and threw them into the building at different angles to set fire to the INEC office.
When contacted by The ICIR, the Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, promised to get back to our reporter on the issue.
He said that he had just learnt of the incident and would find out from the Divisional Police Officer.
It was gathered that a security guard at the facility, Azeez Hamzat, had made a distress call to the police around 1:00 a.m., alerting them of the fire incident.
Meanwhile, the Ogun INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Niyi Ijalaye, confirmed the incident and described it as shocking.