Bandits set INEC office ablaze in Akwa Ibom


Bandits are making effort to crank up the level mayhem in Akwa Ibom , of all  the south-south states witnessing increasing unrest in Nigeria.

With no fewer than two invasions of police facilities within days, the vandals moved on to setting ablaze a local office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) early on Sunday.

The wider implication of this, INECs authorities said, is the possibility of peaceful 2023 general elections.

According to Festus Okoye, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, the incident happened in the early hours of Sunday, May 2, 2021 at INEC’s office at Essien Udim Local Government Area in the state and many ballot boxes and other electoral materials were destroyed.

“The Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State, Mike Igini, has reported that our office in Essien Udim Local Government Area has been set ablaze,” he said in a statement issued on Sunday.

“The incident occurred in the early hours of this morning, Sunday, May 2, 2021. Our security guard on duty escaped unhurt but the destruction to the building and properties therein was extensive. Items destroyed include 345 ballot boxes, 135 voting cubicles, mega phones, water tanks and office furniture.

“The police which have also been battling with attacks on their facilities and personnel are aware of the incident and have commenced investigation.

“It will be recalled that on the eve of the 2019 General elections, our newly constructed prototype LGA office in Ibesikpo Asutan was burnt down while two more offices in Mpat Emin and Eastern Obolo LGAs were bombed.

“The recent attack on our facilities after we have just concluded the inventory of electoral materials nationwide in readiness for the 2023 general elections is worrisome. If unchecked, these attacks may constitute a setback on the commission’s preparations, including the ongoing conversion of voting points to polling units, the forthcoming continuous registration of voters (CVR) and exercise and the conduct of the polls.

“Nevertheless the commission wishes to assure Nigerians that we will leave no stone unturned to recover from the incident in Akwa Ibom State as we continue to prepare for the electoral activities.”