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INEC summons emergency meeting as hoodlums raze Abia office

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Following continuous attacks on its facilities, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has summoned a meeting with security agencies next week to find a lasting solution to the disturbing trend.

The development came as the commission’s renovated office in Ohafia Local Council of Abia State was set ablaze by hoodlums on Sunday night.

Barely a week ago, hoodlums had burnt down the commission’s office in Essien Udim Local Council of Akwa Ibom State, destroying 345 ballot boxes, including 135 voting cubicles, megaphones, water tanks and office furniture.

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The Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Festus Okoye, stated yesterday, that though there were no casualties from the attack on the commission’s Abia office, the building was destroyed.

Apart from furniture, all electoral materials and office equipment were destroyed, he stated, noting that investigation into the incidence had commenced.

He expressed concern over the impact of such attacks on electoral activities, including the ongoing expansion of voter access to polling units, resumption of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), pending by-elections, end-of-tenure elections and ultimately the 2023 general election.

“The latest incident in Abia is one too many. This is not the first attack on the commission’s facilities in the state in recent times. On December 13, 2020, INEC’s local council office in Aba South was completely burnt down, while that of Arochukwu was vandalised in October 2020.

“These facilities are national assets, which must be protected. Accordingly, the commission is convening an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) next week to discuss this disturbing trend,” he stated.

Okoye assured Nigerians that all activities in relation to the ongoing expansion of voter access to polling units and preparation for the resumption of CVR, as well as all scheduled elections, would proceed as planned.

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