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Again, unidentified persons set INEC office ablaze

By Odita Sunday and Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja
28 November 2022   |   4:02 am
The office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Izzi Local Council of Ebonyi State was set ablaze yesterday.

• Ballot boxes, voting cubicles, electric power generators, others destroyed
• IGP orders fortification of commission’s facilities

The office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Izzi Local Council of Ebonyi State was set ablaze yesterday.

Some unidentified persons were said to have started the fire around 10.00 a.m. at the building located in Iboko area of the council.

INEC National Commissioner and Chairman (Information and Voter Education Committee), Festus Okoye, in a statement, said although no casualties resulted from the attack, the main building and all movable and immovable items within were destroyed.

“These include 340 ballot boxes, 130 voting cubicles, 14 electric power generators, large water storage tanks, assorted office furniture and fixtures and yet to be determined quantities of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).”

Okoye said the attention of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies have been drawn to the incident and investigation has commenced.

He added: “Sadly, this is the third attack on our local government office in less than three weeks, following similar attacks on our offices in Ogun and Osun States on November 10, 2022.”

THIS came as Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, ordered all Commissioners of Police in charge of state commands to fortify INEC offices and activate the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES).

The IGP noted that political violence, hate speech, intolerance, misinformation and extremism are all potential threats to democracy and national security.

He, therefore, urged the commissioners to synergise with members of the ICCES to reduce violence to the barest and prosecute violators of extant electoral laws.

A statement by the spokesman of the police high command, CSP Muyiwa Adejobi, reads: “The IGP has charged all Commissioners of Police in charge of State Commands to ensure adequate and strategic deployment of officers and assets, as well as coordinate, deploy, and supervise officers from other security agencies scheduled for election duty, in accordance with ICCES directives, to fortify all facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) within their respective areas of responsibility, even as electoral materials are being relocated to such facilities, to ensure the safety and security of INEC personnel and materials before, during and after the 2023 general elections and forestall attacks on INEC facilities.

“Similarly, the IGP has ordered fresh distribution of gadgets, anti-riot gear and personal protective equipment (PPE) for police officers across the federation, in preparation for the 2023 general election security management duty.

“The items include non-lethal weapons, such as electro-shocks, rubber bullets, water cannons, tear gas, riot guns for crowd control and minimising of casualty during eventual confrontation with subversive elements.

“The IGP reaffirmed the commitment of his administration to the protection of democratic heritage and national security interests, while he called on other security agencies and stakeholders who constitute ICCES, as well as members of the public, to deliberately aid the Nigeria Police Force in its drive to ensure the safety and security of all, before, during and after the elections.”

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