The office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Udenu Local Government Area, Enugu State was on Thursday May 13, 2021 set ablaze.
The National Commissioner & Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye who made this known in a statement on Friday, said the spate of fire incidents involving the facilities of the INEC in some States of the Federation has unfortunately persisted.
Okoye who noted that the Resident Electoral Commissioner for the State, Emeka Ononamadu, reported that the latest tragic incident occurred around 8.40pm on Thursday 13th May 2021, disclosed that no casualties were reported.
He, however, said the office building was extensively damaged while electoral materials and office equipment were destroyed in spite of the best efforts of the Enugu State Fire Service to contain the inferno.
While appreciating the intervention of the Fire Service, he noted that the attention of the Police has been drawn to this yet another very worrisome development for investigation.
According to him, “This is the third incident involving INEC’s Local Government offices in three States in less than two weeks. First, there was the destruction of the office in Essien Udim LGA of Akwa Ibom State on 2nd May 2021. This was followed by the fire at the Ohafia LGA office in Abia State on 9th May 2021.
“This is yet another setback to the Commission’s ongoing activities and preparations for upcoming electoral activities”.
He further said that following the attack in Abia State, the Commission resolved to convene an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) next week to discuss the disturbing trend, adding that the latest destruction of the Commission’s physical infrastructure and electoral facilities in Enugu State calls for an immediate review of the measures necessary to secure INEC’s assets across the States.
“Consequently, the Commission is convening an emergency meeting with all the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) on Wednesday, May 19, 2021 in Abuja ahead of the meeting of ICCES”, he said.
He expressed the Commission’s determination to continue to discharge its responsibilities, including the conclusion of the expansion of voters’ access to Polling Units, resumption of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), capacity-building activities, the review of the draft Strategic Plan 2022-2026, engagement with stakeholders as well as all scheduled and pending elections.