THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said arsonists destroyed 748 ballot boxes and 240 voting cubicles during an attack on its office in Enugu State on Sunday.
The INEC National Electoral Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.
Okoye said the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Enugu State, Emeka Ononamadu, reported that the Commission’s office in Igboeze North Local Government Area was set ablaze by unknown arsonists around 11:48 pm on Sunday.
“Although no casualties were reported., 748 ballot boxes, 240 voting cubicles, office furniture and equipment were destroyed in spite of the best efforts of the Enugu State Fire Service deployed from Nsukka,” the statement said.
Okoye noted that the arsonists overpowered the security guards, forced their way into the premises and set the building ablaze.
“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,” Okoye further said.
He said the incident was reported to the Nigeria Police for investigation and further action.
Okoye expressed concern over frequent attacks on INEC offices by hoodlums and unknown gunmen as the country gets set for the 2023 general elections.
INEC’s head office in Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State was attacked by arsonists on May 13, 2021. The Commission’s State Headquarters in Enugu was also attacked on May 16, 2021 while the office in and Igboeze South Local Government Area came under attack on May 23, 2021.
Commenting on the attacks on INEC facilities in Enugu State, Okoye said, “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.”