The office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State has been set ablaze by suspected hoodlums.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, on Sunday.
According to INEC, it was informed of the incident on Sunday by its Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State, Mike Igini.
The statement read: “The Incident occurred in the early hours of this morning, Sunday 2nd May 2021. Our security guard on duty escaped unhurt but the destruction to the building and properties therein was extensive.
“Items destroyed include 345 ballot boxes, 135 voting cubicles, megaphones, water tanks and office furniture.
“The police, which have also been battling with attacks on its facilities and personnel in the area, is aware of the incident and has commenced an investigation.”
The electoral umpire lamented the various attacks on its equipment and facilities, describing it as worrisome.
It noted that such attacks could derail the 2023 general elections if they are not stopped.
“It will be recalled that on the eve of the 2019 General Election, our newly constructed prototype LGA office in Ibesikpo Asutan was burnt down while two more offices in Mkpat Enin and Eastern Obolo LGAs were bombed.
“The recent attack on our facility after we have just concluded the inventory of electoral materials nationwide in readiness for the 2023 General Election is worrisome.
“If unchecked, these attacks may constitute a setback on the Commission’s preparations, including the ongoing conversion of Voting Points to Polling Units, the forthcoming Continuous Registration of Voters (CVR) exercise and the conduct of polls,” the statement read.
The Commission, however, assured Nigerians it will leave no stone unturned to recover from the incident in Akwa Ibom State