At least 748 ballot boxes were destroyed by gunmen who razed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) building in Igboeze North Local Government Area office in Enugu State.
The National Commissioner of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, who confirmed the development described the incident as worrisome said no casualties were reported, but 748 ballot boxes, 240 voting cubicles, and equipment were destroyed.
He said the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Enugu state, Mr. Emeka Ononamadu, reported that the office was set ablaze by yet-to-be-identified gunmen at 11.48 pm on Sunday, July 3.
“The arsonists overpowered the security guards, forced their way into the premises, and set the building ablaze.
“Although no casualties were reported, 748 ballot boxes, 240 voting cubicles, office furniture, and equipment were destroyed in spite of the best effort of the Enugu State Fire Service deployed from Nsukka,” Okoye said.
According to him, the commission was working to ascertain the status of voter registration machines for the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), as well as uncollected Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs), locked up in the fireproof cabinet.
The national commissioner said the incident had been reported to the Nigeria Police for investigation and further action.
“The attack, coming in the middle of the voter registration exercise and other preparations for the 2023 general elections is worrisome,” he said.
Okoye recalled that on May 23, 2021, the INEC office in the neighboring Igboeze South Local Government Area was attacked in a similar manner by gunmen.
This followed earlier attacks on the Udenu Local Government Area office on May 13, 2021, and the State Headquarters in Enugu on May 16, 2021.
Okoye said that INEC had since substantially recovered from these attacks and resumed normal activities there, including the CVR and collection of PVCs.
He said the commission would continue to work with the security agencies and the emergency services to protect its facilities.