The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday raised alarm over frequent attacks on its offices nationwide, saying this could derail the 2023 general elections.
This was contained in a statement issued by the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, on Sunday, in the wake of a fire attack on the commission’s office in Akwa Ibom.
According to Okoye, this insecurity may affect the ongoing conversion of voting points to polling units, voter registration, and the conduct of future elections.
Ripples Nigeria had earlier reported that the INEC office in Essien Udim Local Government Area was set ablaze at the early hours of Sunday morning.
The security guard on duty escaped unhurt but the destruction to the building and properties therein was extensive.
“Items destroyed include 345 ballot boxes, 135 voting cubicles, megaphones, water tanks, and office furniture,” Okoye said.
“The police, which have also been battling with attacks on its facilities and personnel in the area, are aware of the incident and have commenced an investigation.”
The national commissioner recalled that on the eve of the 2019 General Election, INEC’s newly constructed prototype LGA office in Ibesikpo Asutan was burnt down while two more offices in Mkpat Enin and Eastern Obolo LGAs were bombed.
“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 (CRV) and the conduct of polls,” he added.