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Gunmen raze INEC office in Enugu

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.Commission confirms incident

COSMAS CHUKWU, Enugu

The office of the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC in Ogurute, Igboeze North Local Government Area secretariat in Enugu State has been burnt down by unknown arsonists.

It was reliably gathered that the office was set on fire Sunday night and the affected building was totally burnt.

The Council has come under attack recently by unknown gunmen leading the state government to impose 6pm to 6am curfew in both Igboeze North and Igboeze South Local Government Areas.

Heavy security personnel have also been deployed in the area to check the invasion and the battle has continued to linger.

Daily Champion learned that for fear, the State fire Service which has an office at Ogurute could not move in until security was provided and by the time security was provided the fire had done much damage.

However, both fire trucks from Nsukka and Ogurute were mobilized and reportedly fought the fire most part of the night to stop the inferno.

Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has confirmed that hoodlums burnt down its office at Igboeze North Local Government Area of Enugu State.

Confirming the incident, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Mr. EmekaOnonamadu, in a statement on Monday, said the arsonists overpowered the security guards, forced their way into the premises, and set the building ablaze.

He said although no casualties were reported, 748 ballot boxes, 240 voting cubicles, office furniture, and equipment were destroyed in spite of the effort of the Enugu State Fire Service deployed from Nsukka.

Ononamadu added that the Commission is working to ascertain the status of voter registration machines for the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise as well as uncollected Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) locked up in the fireproof cabinet.

”The incident has 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 election is worrisome. It will be recalled that on 23rd May 2021, our office in the neighbouringIgboeze South Local Government Area was attacked in a similar manner by unknown gunmen.

”This followed earlier attacks on the Udenu Local Government Area office on 13th May 2021 and the State Headquarters in Enugu on 16th May 2021.The Commission has since substantially recovered from these attacks and resumed normal activities there, including the VR and collection of PVCs.

”The Commission will continue to work with the security agencies and the emergency services to protect our facilities,” the statement added.

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