Arson: INEC Set to Meet Security Chiefs As 21 Offices Are Razed

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Arson: INEC Set to Meet Security Chiefs As 21 Offices Are Razed
Obiajulu Joel Nwolu

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is set to meet heads of security agencies this week as part of efforts to forestall the rising attacks on its offices in some part of the country.

Reports say the meeting with security agencies will be held after a meeting of the resident electoral commissioners of the electoral umpire on Wednesday.

This was disclosed by a top official of the commission in the wake of the hiked spate of attacks on INEC’s office which has risen to 21 on Sunday night with the recent attack on the Enugu State headquarters of the commission, Punch reports.

At least 19 offices of INEC had been burnt in the last two years by hoodlums. A breakdown of the incidents showed that the most affected states include Akwa Ibom (four), Abia (three) Anambra (two) and Imo (two).

Other states that witnessed fire incidents between February 2019 and May 2021 are Borno, Ebonyi, Jigawa, Kano, Ondo, Plateau and Rivers. Abuja was also affected.

The INEC office in the Obollo-Afor, Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State was razed by a midnight fire last Thursday while on Sunday, the headquarters of INEC in the same state was gutted by fire. This brings the total number of offices gutted by fire in the last two years to 21.

On Monday, the top official of the commission, who spoke to ThePunch said, “After our meeting on Wednesday, we will meet security chiefs to end this ugly development which may affect future elections.”

Also, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, in his reaction on Monday cautioned that the commission’s capacity to prepare properly for future elections could be affected if the attacks on its facilities as being witnessed lately in parts of the country continued.

“The commission will not be deterred by the unprovoked spate of attacks from carrying out the required electoral activities in the region and the entire country,” Oyekanmi said while responding to a question on how the recent attacks on INEC offices could affect future elections in the affected areas.

“However, these deliberate and misplaced attacks on the commission’s facilities cannot and should not continue.

“If they continue unabated, preparations for electoral activities may be affected.”

Oyekanmi also confirmed that the commission would meet security agencies to end attacks on its facilities.

He stated, “The commission will meet with the resident electoral commissioners in Abuja on Wednesday, May 19, to be followed by another meeting with the security agencies under the auspices of the inter-agency consultative committee on election security.

“These emergency meetings are being convened to discuss the spate of attacks and come up with the appropriate measures to be taken with immediate effect.”

On how much has been lost to the attacks, Oyekanmi said although it was difficult to come up with exact cost at the moment, it would cost the country a lot of money to replace the assets that were destroyed.

He described the damage done by the arsonists as “extensive.”

This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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