3rd May, 2021
By Emmanuel Oloniruha/Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said recent attacks on its facilities, if unchecked, may jeopardise 2023 elections and other future polls.
The commission expressed concern, particularly with the ongoing conversion of voting points to polling units, voter registration and the conduct of future elections.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said this in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, while confirming the arsonist attack on the commission’s office in Akwa Ibom.
Okoye said that the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom, Mike Igini, reported that INEC office in Essien Udim Local Government Area was set ablaze at the early hours of Sunday morning.
He said that 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.
“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 investigation,” Okoye said.
The national commissioner recalled that on the eve of the 2019 General Election, INEC newly constructed prototype LGA office in Ibesikpo Asutan was burnt down while two more offices in Mkpat Enin and Eastern Obolo LGAs were bombed.
“The recent attack on our facility after we have just concluded the inventory of electoral materials nationwide in readiness for the 2023 General Election is worrisome.
“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 said.
He said that, nevertheless, the Commission wished to assure Nigerians that it would leave no stone unturned to recover from the incident in Akwa Ibom as it continued to prepare for all electoral activities.