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INEC summons emergency security meeting as hoodlums set office ablaze in Abia

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[FILES] INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu. Photo; TWITTER/INECNIGERIA

Following continuous attacks on its facilities, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it would be meeting with security agencies next week to find last solution to the disturbing trend.

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

Barely a week ago, yet-to-be identified hoodlums burnt down the commission’s office in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom state, destroying 345 ballot boxes, including 135 voting cubicles, megaphones, water tanks and office furniture.

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National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, in a statement on Monday, said though there were no casualties on the attack on the commission’s office in Abia, the building was virtually destroyed.

He added that apart from furniture items, all electoral materials and office equipment were destroyed, noting that the investigation into the incidence had commenced.

He said:” It will be recalled that only last week, the commission reported an attack on its office in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State and expressed anxiety about 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 bye-elections, end-of-tenure elections and ultimately the 2023 General Election.

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“The latest incident in Abia State is one too many. This is not the first attack on the commission’s facilities in the State in recent times. Five months ago on 13th December 2020, the INEC LGA office in Aba South was completely burnt down while that of Arochukwu LGA was vandalised and ransacked 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.

Okoye assured Nigerians that all activities in relation to the ongoing expansion of voter access to Polling Units and preparations for the resumption of CVR as well as all scheduled elections would proceed as planned.

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