Unknown persons have set the newly renovated Ohafia local government area office of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Abia state on fire.
The incident according to a statement by Festus Okoye, the commission’s national commissioner and chairman in charge of information and voter education, happened on late on Sunday night, 9th May.
There were no casualties in the fire incident but the building was virtually destroyed while all office equipments and furniture were also lost.
He added that the Police have since been informed to launch an investigation into the fire.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner for the State, Dr. Joseph Iloh, reported the fire incident to the INEC headquarters in Abuja.
It will be recalled that only last week, the Commission reported an attack on its office in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State and expressed anxiety about the impact of such attacks on electoral activities, including the ongoing expansion of voter access to Polling Units, resumption of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), pending bye-elections, end-of-tenure elections and ultimately the 2023 General Election.
The latest incident in Abia State is one too many.
This is not the first attack on the Commission’s facilities in the State in recent times.
Five months ago on 13th December 2020, the INEC LGA office in Aba South was completely burnt down while that of Arochukwu LGA was vandalised and ransacked in October 2020.
These facilities are national assets, which must be protected.
Accordingly, the Commission is convening an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) next week to discuss this disturbing trend.
The Commission however assures Nigerians that all activities in relation to the ongoing expansion of voter access to Polling Units and preparations for the resumption of CVR as well as all scheduled elections will proceed as planned.