Independent National Electoral Commission has summoned an emergency security meeting for Friday (today) over recent attacks on its offices.
National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja.
Okoye said the meeting was triggered by the attacks on INEC’s local government offices in Ogun and Osun states on Thursday.
The meeting, which will be attended by heads of security agencies, who are members of Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), including the National Security Adviser (NSA), will deliberate on the disturbing trend and fashion out ways of curbing the development ahead of the 2023 elections.
The INEC commissioner said the hoodlums carried out the attacks in Abeokuta and Ede South local government areas in the two South-West states on Thursday morning.
According to him, “This morning, the commission received two disturbing reports of attacks on our local government offices in Ogun and Osun states. The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Ogun State, Dr. Niyi Ijalaiye, reported that our office in Abeokuta South Local Government Area was attacked and set ablaze.
“The incident occurred around 1.15am 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, 8 electric power generators and 65,699 uncollected Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs).
“Similarly, the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Osun State, Dr. Mutiu Agboke, reported that our office in Ede South Local Government Area was attacked and set ablaze.
“The incident occurred in the early hours of this morning when some unidentified persons attacked the building and set a portion of it ablaze. Fortunately, the damage to our Ede South Local Government was limited to a section of the building and only some furniture items were destroyed.”
The INEC commissioner said the attention of the Nigeria Police Force and other security and safety agencies had been drawn to the incidents and investigation had commenced.
He said, “With just 106 days to the 2023 general elections when the commission has commenced the movement of materials to our offices nationwide, these simultaneous attacks are very worrisome indeed.”
Okoye added that the rising incidents of attacks on supporters of various political parties since the commencement of campaign barely two months ago and the use of hate and incendiary language by some politicians are extremely disturbing.
“Accordingly, the commission has convened an emergency meeting of the ICCES tomorrow Friday 11, November 2023 to discuss the disturbing trend,” Okoye said.