By Izunna Okafor, Awka
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has released the details of losses suffered by the Commission as gunmen attacked one of its offices in Anambra State in the early hours of Wednesday.
It would be recalled that unidentified gunmen, at about 1:45am on Wednesday, attacked the INEC office in Ojoto, Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State, where they bombed up the facility. According to police report, the gunmen stormed the INEC office with four Sienna cars, armed with improvised explosive devices, and petrol bombs.
The hoodlums similarly attacked a Divisional Police Headquarters in Nnobi, in the same local government area, where they equally set the facility, killed a 16-year-old boy and also injured another teenager, in addition to other destructions they caused at the police facility. A residential building was also attacked during the destructive operations of the hoodlums. All these same-day attacks happened just few weeks to the 2023 general election.
Reacting to the attack on its facility, INEC, which said it received the report from the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Dr. Queen Elizabeth Agwu, described the destruction as a coordinated one.
According to a statement issued by the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, the building was substantially damaged, while all furnitures and other items were destroyed, including non-sensitive materials recently delivered in readiness for the 2023 General Election.
Okoye said the items lost to the inferno include: 729 ballot boxes, 243 voting cubicles, 256 election bags, 11 megaphones, 1 electric power generator and large quantities of indelible inks and liquid gums.
While revealing that no sensitive materials have been delivered to the L.G.A. office; he equally noted that uncollected Permanent Voters Cards in the office were not burnt or affected by the inferno.
Going further, the INEC authority emphatically stated that elections will still hold in the area as scheduled, irrespective of the attack, adding that contingency arrangements will be made.
“Despite this despicable incident, the Commission wishes to reassure the people of Idemili South L.G.A. that contingency arrangements will be made to replace the materials; and that the Presidential and National Assembly elections will proceed on 25th February 2023, as schedule, to be followed two weeks later by the State House of Assembly elections,” he concluded.
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