The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Igbo Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State has been set ablaze by suspected hoodlums.
The office, situated at the council’s headquarters in Ogurute was set on fire on Sunday night, July 3.
It was gathered that the state fire service in the community could not move in to save the situation for fear of further attacks until security was provided.
Sources in the area told The Nation that by the time security was provided, the fire had completely razed down the building.
INEC confirmed the incident on Monday, in a statement signed by its national commissioner, information and voter education, Festus Okoye.
According to the statement, the resident electoral commissioner for Enugu state, Emeka Ononamadu, reported that the attack happened at 11.48 pm on Sunday.
Ononamadu said the arsonists overpowered the security guards, forced their way into the premises, and set the building ablaze.
“Although no casualties were reported, 748 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,” the statement reads.
“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. The incident has been reported to the Nigeria Police for investigation and further action.”
“The attack, coming in the middle of the voter registration exercise and other preparations for the 2023 General Election, is worrisome. It will be recalled that on 23rd May 2021, our office in the neighboring Igboeze South Local Government Area was attacked in a similar manner by unknown gunmen. This followed earlier attacks on the Udenu Local Government Area office on 13th May 2021 and the State Headquarters in Enugu on 16th May 2021. The Commission has since substantially recovered from these attacks and resumed normal activities there, including the CVR and collection of PVCs.
“The Commission will continue to work with the security agencies and the emergency services to protect our facilities.