The office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom state has been set ablaze by yet-to-be-identified hoodlums in the early hours of Sunday.
Ballot boxes and other electoral materials were burnt.
INEC National Commissioner & Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, who confirmed the incident, said the security guard on duty, escaped unhurt, adding that the destruction to the building and properties was extensive.
According to him, 345 ballot boxes, including 135 voting cubicles, megaphones, water tanks and office furniture were destroyed.
He revealed that the police have been informed of the attack and an investigation has commenced.
Okoye while describing the incident as worrisome, said such attacks may affect preparation for the 2023 general election.
“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,” Okoya said.
“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.
“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.”
Credits: The Guardian; Sodiq Omolaoye.