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EXCLUSIVE: How 21 burnt INEC offices might put 2023 elections at risk

Rachael Olokungboye

The Independent National Electoral Commission has been hit with string of serial attacks over the past few weeks with similar incidents recorded in Akwa Ibom, Abia, Enugu, and Ebonyi all in the southeastern part of the country between May 2 and May 18.

A breakdown of the data from the incidents showed that the most affected States include Akwa Ibom (four), Abia (three) Anambra (two) and Imo (two).

Data gathered from INEC shows that some other States had also witnessed fire incidents between February 2019 and May 2021.

Borno, Ebonyi, Jigawa, Kano, Ondo, Plateau, and Rivers and Abuja were affected.

The INEC office in 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 state was gutted by fire.

The attack on the headquarters of INEC in Enugu State came 48 hours after the Commission’s office in the Udenu Local Government Area of the state was burnt.

Reports says, there are indications that Nigeria will spend more to conduct the 2023 general elections as INEC says it has begun an audit of assets destroyed in the ongoing serial attacks on its facilities.

The Commission’s State Headquarters in Awka, Anambra State, it’s office in Ahiazu Mbiase Local Government Area of Imo State, and its office in Igboeze South LGA of Enugu State all came under attack on May 23, 2021.

The most devastating attack took place in Anambra where 376 electric generating sets serving the entire state were completely destroyed.

TECHNOCRAT MEDIA gathered that the pavillon that serves as a collation center where elections materials are been kept was burnt.

About 50% of non-sensitive materials which is to be used for the November 6, 2021 Governorship election in the State were also burnt among other valuable items.

A total of 21 INEC offices had been gutted by fire in the last two years.

Causes of the infernos

TECHNOCRAT MEDIA observed a common pattern in the attacks of INEC facilities across the locations. One major common pattern is that almost of the offices where fire razed happened in the nights.

INEC in some it’s press releases had said that some of the attacks were allegedly perpetrated by hoodlums.

One may begin to ask what’s their point of agitations, destroying national properties in their domains?

2023 general elections might be at risk if these attacks are not put under control.

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