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INEC expresses ‘worry’ as hoodlums set two Ebonyi offices ablaze

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THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed worry after two of its offices were set ablaze in the state.

The electoral body which shared details of the incident on its official Twitter handle this morning explained that the affected buildings are in Ebonyi and Ezza North Local Governmen Areas.

“Last night, Tuesday 18th May 2021, two INEC offices in Ebonyi and Ezza North Local Government Areas of Ebonyi State were burnt down by unidentified persons,” the electoral body tweeted.

It noted that no person was injured during the attack which took place last night.

Security formations and offices of the electoral body in the South East have come under attacks in recent months, leading to fears about preparations for the 2023 elections in Nigeria.

A few days back, materials and equipment were destroyed during a fire outbreak at the INEC office in Enugu State.

“This is the third incident involving INEC’s Local Government offices in three States in less than two weeks,” the body said in a statement.

On Sunday, May 16th, 2021, six vehicles were razed with two others damaged following an attack on the Enugu State office of the electoral body.

“The attackers set the foyer ablaze, vandalised some offices in the main building and caused extensive damage to some of the Commission’s movable assets within the premises,” INEC explained.

“Six utility pick up vehicles (Toyota Hilux) were burnt down while two more were smashed and damaged. The security agencies who were at the scene have commenced an investigation.”

The latest attack is coming as INEC prepares for a meeting (billed for today) with security agencies due to the incessant assaults on the commission’s offices across the country.

While lamenting the spike in attacks on its offices, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, expressed fear that the developments may affect early preparations for the 2023 general elections if allowed to continue.

“We are worried that our preparations are being distracted and distorted. We are also worried because some of our officers are now living in fear in relation to what is going on,” he added.

“There is no doubt whatsoever that what is going on is unacceptable, and it is going to divert the attention of the commission from early preparations for the 2023 elections and for the off-season elections that we’re organising.”

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