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Attacks on INEC facilities now national emergency – Spokesman

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday said the continuous attacks on its facilities have now become a national emergency after its offices in Enugu, Imo, and Anambra state came under attacks on Sunday.

In an emergency session on Monday, INEC said the attacks took place at various times on Sunday, 23rd May 2021, describing the state headquarters office in Awka, Anambra State as the “most devastating onslaught on the Commission’s facilities so far.”

A statement issued by the commission’s spokesman, Festus Okoye, said the attackers of the Anambra office were “systematic and selective in their targets,” as two stores housing electoral materials to be used for the November 2021 governorship elections were burnt down.

Seven utility vehicles, 50 per cent of non-sensitive materials, new and old (but serviceable) electricity generating machines numbering 376 for all the electoral wards and the extra numbers for backup were also burnt, INEC said.

Similarly, the commission’s office in Ahiazu Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo was attacked about 06:45 p.m. same day “in an obvious attempt to set the building ablaze,” INEC said, noting that “fortunately, the damage was limited to a section of the building, specifically the windows and part of the roof. No electoral materials or office equipment were destroyed.”

The Enugu State office at Igboeze South LGA was also attacked at about 01:00 p.m., as the store was razed before the intervention of the Neighborhood Watch and the Enugu State Fire Service. This makes the third attack on INEC facilities in Enugu in the two weeks after the destruction of Udenu LGA office on 13th May 2021 and the State Headquarters building in Enugu on 16th May 2021.

The electoral body, however, said the police had commenced investigations, just as it said that no life was lost.

“Although no lives were lost, these are clearly orchestrated and targeted attacks aimed at incapacitating the Commission in conducting electoral activities, especially in Anambra State,” it said.

It further noted that the commission was bent on discharging its duties regardless of the series of attacks.

“The attacks on the Commission’s facilities have now become a national emergency. Accordingly, the Commission will brief the government and stakeholders on these incidents.

“In spite of these setbacks, the Commission is determined to continue to discharge its responsibilities including the conduct of the scheduled Anambra Governorship election,” INEC said.

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