The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday raised alarm over frequent attacks on its offices nationwide, saying this could derail the 2023 general elections.
The alarm followed yesterday’s attack on its office in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
This came as insecurity woes in the country were weekend compounded by the killing of a senior military officer by Boko Haram which attacked a military base in Ajiri village in Mafa Local Government Area of Borno State.
This is even as gunmen killed Kogi State Commissioner for Pensions Board, Mr. Solomon Adegbayo, popularly known Akeweje, in the border between Kogi and Kwara State while travelling to his home town, Egbe, from Ilorin, Kwara State
Chairman of Yagba West Local Government Area of Kogi State, Mr. Pius Kolawole, who rode with the commissioner in his car was kidnapped by the gunmen. His where-abouts is unknown.
Also last weekend, gunmen attacked another police station, killing a policeman.
INEC’s office razed in A-Ibom LG
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, for Akwa Ibom State, Barr. Mike Igini, said its office in Essien Udim Local Government Area had been set ablaze.
“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 Voters Registration, CVR, exercise and the conduct of polls,” the commission said.
Also reacting to the attack, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Barr. Festus Okoye, in a statement, said the incident occurred in the early hours of yesterday, May 2, 2021.
“Our security guards 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,” Okoye stated.
According to him, the police, which have also been battling with attacks on their facilities and personnel in the area, are aware of the incident and have commenced investigation.
Vanguard recalls that on the eve of the 2019 general election, INEC’s newly constructed prototype local government office in Ibesikpo Asutan was burnt down, while two more offices in Mkpat Enin and Eastern Obolo LGAs were also bombed.
“Nevertheless, the commission wishes to assure Nigerians that we will leave no stone unturned to recover from the incident in Akwa Ibom State as we continue to prepare for all electoral activities,” Okoye added.
Officer killed, gun trucks carted away in fresh B- Haram attack
At Ajiri in Mafa Local Government Area of Borno State, Boko Haram insurgents yesterday attacked a military base, killing the commanding officer (names withheld), injuring a soldier and dislodging the troops.
The attackers were also said to have seized and carted away three military gun trucks, arms and ammunition.
The attack came at about 1:00am, barely 12 hours after some insurgents on Saturday evening attacked Rann, the headquarter of Kala Balge Local Government Area and Limankara village of Gwoza Local Government Area of the state…