A resurgence of arson targeted at public institutions, especially those critical to the successful conduct of the 2023 general elections, yesterday, raised fears of a volatile electioneering season as the country begins its countdown to the polls.
Hoodlums have razed the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) office located at Oke-Iresi area of Ede in Ede-South Local Government Area of Osun State and some of their offices in Ogun State.
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INEC has summoned an emergency security meeting today with heads of security agencies, who are members of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), including the National Security Adviser (NSA), over recent attacks on its facilities to deliberate on the disturbing trend.
National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said that the meeting was triggered by the attacks on the Commission’s Local Government offices in Ogun and Osun.
He said: “The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Ogun, Dr. Niyi Ijalaiye, reported that our office in Abeokuta South Council was attacked and set ablaze. The incident occurred around 1.15a.m. when some unidentified persons overpowered the security personnel on duty and set the entire building ablaze.
“The main building and all the Commission’s movable assets in the office were destroyed. They include 904 ballot boxes, 29 voting cubicles, 30 megaphones, 57 election bags, eight electric power generators and 65,699 uncollected Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
“Similarly, the REC for Osun, Dr. Mutiu Agboke, reported that our office in Ede South Council was attacked and set ablaze. The incident occurred in the early hours when some unidentified persons attacked the building and set a portion of it ablaze.
“Fortunately, the damage to our Ede South Council office was limited to a section of the building and only some furniture items were destroyed.
This is the second case of arsonists attacking an INEC office in the build up to the 2023 elections, the first being an INEC office in Enugu.