Hoodlums have burnt down the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Igboeze North Local Government Area of Enugu State.
The office situated at the council’s headquarters in Ogurute was totally destroyed on Sunday night.
The state fire service which has an office at Ogurute could not move in to save the situation for fear of further attacks until security was provided.
However, by the time security was provided, the fire had completely razed down the building.
According to a statement signed by INEC’s National Commissioner, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, on Monday, the attack on the office happened at 11:48pm on Sunday July 3, 2022.
The press release stated that the arsonists overpowered security guards in charge of the commission’s office, forced their way into the premises and burned down the building.
While noting that no casualties were reported in the attack, the commission stated that 748 ballot boxes and 240 voting cubicles, as well as office furniture and equipment, were destroyed by the arsonists.
The statement titled, ‘Attack on INEC office in Enugu State’, partly read, “The Resident Electoral Commissioner for Enugu State, M. Emeka Onanamadu, reported that our Igboeze North Local Government Area office was set ablaze by unknown arsonists. The attack happened at 11:48pm on Sunday 3rd July 2022.
“The arsonists overpowered the security guards, forced their way into the premises and set the building ablaze. Although no casualties were reported, 48 ballot boxes, 240 voting cubicles, office furniture and equipment were destroyed in spite of the best effort of the Enugu State Fire Service deployed from Nsukka.”
As of the time of the press release, INEC stated that it had yet to ascertain the status of voter registration machines as well as the Permanent Voter Cards locked up in the fireproof cabinet cabinet in the burnt office.
“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.”
While the commission said it had reported the attack to the Nigeria Police Force, it lamented the timing of the attack which was coming “in the middle of the voter registration exercise.”
The statement noted that similar attacks had been carried out on its offices in the Igboeze South and Udeni Local Government Areas as well as the Enugu State Headquarters of the commission all in May 2021.