The attack in Oru West occurs three days after another INEC office was attacked in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State.
Armed persons on Sunday attacked the office of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Oru West Local Government Area of Imo State, making it the seventh attack on the commission’s facilities within the last four months.
The attack in Oru West occurs three days after another INEC office was attacked in Orlu Local Government Area of same Imo State.
The Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Festus Okoye, confirmed the latest attack late Sunday in a statement made available to journalists.
“The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Imo State, Professor Sylvia Uchenna Agu, has reported that our office in Oru West Local Government Area was attacked at about 4.00am today Sunday 4th December 2022,” Mr Okoye wrote.
“The attack affected the Conference Room where office furniture and fittings were destroyed,” he added. “However, other critical facilities were not affected.”
Mr Okoye said the latest attack was the seventh on INEC facilities in the last four months.
‘It would be recalled that on Thursday 1st December 2022, our office in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State was also attacked. Overall, this is the 7th attack on our facilities in five States of the Federation in the last four months.”
Mr Okoye expressed concern about the systematic attack on the commission’s facilities across the country as it prepares to conduct the 2023 general elections.
“Once again, the Commission expresses its concern on the consequences of what appears to be a systematic attack on its facilities across the country on the conduct of elections in particular and electoral activities in general. The attention of the security agencies has been drawn to this latest incident for investigation and prosecution” Mr Okoye said.
INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu had said, on Monday, that the recent attacks on its facilities will not stop the conduct of the 2023 general elections.
Not first time in South-east
Although the attacks on INEC offices have been happening across the country, the commission has become a target of gunmen across the South-east in recent times.
The attacks have raised fears about holding the 2023 general elections in the region.
About four months ago, some suspected arsonists razed an INEC office in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State.
Also, two offices of INEC, in May 2021, were set ablaze by gunmen in Ebonyi State. The offices are located at Ezza North and Izzi local government areas of the state.
Another building belonging to the INEC, in May 2021, was also set ablaze in Imo State, Nigeria’s South-east.
Again, in September 2021, the commission’s office was set ablaze in Awgu Local Government Area office in Enugu State.
The attacks on INEC facilities around the South-east and the South-south regions, as well as on security agencies, have been attributed to the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
But the group has repeatedly denied any involvement in the attacks.
IPOB is a group leading agitation for an independent state of Biafra which it wants carved out from the south-east and some parts of south-south Nigeria.