Suspected arsonists have set the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Izzi Local Government Area ablaze.
The incident happened on Sunday at the INEC headquarters in the local government located at Iboko.
INEC National Commissioner & Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, confirmed the incident in a statement.
He said the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Ebonyi State, Mrs Onyeka Pauline Ugochi, reported that thee incident occurred around 10.00am when some unidentified persons set the entire building ablaze.
Okoye said although no casualty was resulted from the attack, the main building and all the movable and immovable items inside it were destroyed.
These include 340 ballot boxes, 130 voting cubicles, 14 electric power generators, large water storage tanks, assorted office furniture and fixtures and yet to be determined quantities of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs).
“The attention of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies has been drawn to the incident and have commenced investigation.
“Sadly, this is the third attack on our Local Government office in less than three weeks following similar attacks on our offices in Ogun and Osun States on 10th November 2022,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, has ordered all Commissioners of Police in charge of Police Commands to fortify all facilities of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The Commissioners of Police, the IGP, said should promptly activate the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) to engage all stakeholders in evolving strategies for mitigating threats to the 2023 General Elections process within their various areas of responsibility.
The IGP noted that political violence, hate speech, threats, political intolerance, misinformation, and political extremism are potential threats to democracy and national security interests.
He urged all Police Commissioners to work in synergy with other members of the ICCES to reduce threats of violence to its barest minimum with swift prosecution of violators of extant electoral laws.
According to a statement on Sunday in Abuja by the Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi added: “IGP has ordered a fresh distribution of gadgets, anti-riot gear, and personal protective equipment (PPE) for Police Officers across the federation in preparation for the 2023 General Election security management duty.
“The items include non-lethal weapons such as electro-shocks, rubber bullets, water cannons, tear gas, riot guns etc., for crowd control and to minimize casualty risk in eventual confrontations with subversive elements”.