Ahead of the 2023 general elections, atleast 65,000 uncollected Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) have been burnt after unknown gunmen attacked the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the Ede-South local government area of Osun state.
According to reports, the fire started in the early hours of Thursday but was swiftly put out by the fire service department in the state, preventing the fire from spreading from the conference hall, where it started to other sections.
A statement signed by Barrister Festus Okoye, National Commissioner & Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, and released to newsmen on further disclosed that hoodlums carried out the attacks in Abeokuta Local Government and Ede South Local Government Areas in the two southwest states on Thursday morning.
No arrests have been made. Okoye said an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) has been fixed to discuss the wave of attacks on INEC facilities, 106 days before the 2023 General Election. The meeting will also discuss the unrestrained incendiary remarks by politicians in the course of campaigns.
The statement read in part:” This morning, the Commission received two disturbing reports of attacks on our Local Government offices in Ogun and Osun States.
“The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Ogun State, Dr Niyi Ijalaiye, reported that our office in Abeokuta South Local Government Area was attacked and set ablaze.
“The incident occurred around 1.15 am when some unidentified persons overpowered the security personnel on duty and set the entire building ablaze.
“The main building and all the Commission’s movable assets in the office were destroyed. They include 904 ballot boxes, 29 voting cubicles, 30 megaphones, 57 election bags, 8 electric power generators and 65,699 uncollected Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs).
“Similarly, 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 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 an investigation.
“With just 106 days to the 2023 General Election when the Commission has commenced the movement of materials to our offices nationwide, these simultaneous attacks are very worrisome indeed.
“Similarly, the rising incidents of attacks on supporters of various political parties since the commencement of the campaign barely two months ago and the use of hate and incendiary language by some politicians are extremely disturbing.
“Accordingly, the Commission has convened an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) tomorrow Friday 11th November 2023 to discuss the disturbing trend.”
Video clip of our burnt office in Abeokuta South Local Government Area, Ogun State, after being set ablaze by unknown persons👇 pic.twitter.com/nbLPSyvXMP
— INEC Nigeria (@inecnigeria) November 10, 2022
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