By Nwanosike Onu, Awka; Okodili Ndidi, Abuja; Damian Duruiheoma, Enugu; Chris Njoku, Owerri and Alao Abiodun
Extra property of the Impartial Nationwide Electoral Fee (INEC) got here underneath assault in Imo, Anambra and Enugu states yesterday.
The Fee’s workplace in Ahiazu Mbaise Native Authorities Space (LGA) in Imo, the state headquarters in Awka, Anambra capital and Igboeze South LGA workplace in Enugu have been burnt.
INEC, in a press release by Nationwide Commissioner and Chairman, Data and Voter Training Committee, Festus Okoye, described the escalating assaults as a nationwide emergency.
The fee held an emergency yesterday over the unabating onslaught.
Okoye said: “Within the newest incidents, three places of work of the Fee got here underneath assault in Anambra, Imo and Enugu States.
“The resident electoral commissioners for Anambra Dr Nkwachukwu Orji; his Imo counterpart Prof Francis Ezeonu and that of Enugu Emeka Ononamadu have reported that the assaults befell at numerous occasions on the evening of Sunday, twenty third Could 2021.
“The state headquarters in Awka was set ablaze in essentially the most devastating onslaught on the Fee’s amenities thus far. The attackers have been systematic and selective of their targets.
“The pavilion which serves as collation centre throughout main elections was burnt down.
“In what’s a serious blow to our preparations for the governorship election scheduled for sixth November 2021, two shops housing electoral supplies have been burnt down.
“New and previous (however serviceable) electrical producing machines numbering 376 for all of the electoral wards and the additional numbers for backup have been utterly burnt.
“The electrical turbines have been just lately relocated from the LGA) to the state headquarters within the perception that it’s safer than the LGA places of work.”
Okoye stated non-sensitive supplies have been additionally destroyed within the Anambra incident.
“As a part of the Fee’s proactive measures to make sure the success of the governorship election later this yr, about 50 per cent of the non-sensitive supplies required for the November 6, 2021 governorship election already delivered to the state have additionally been misplaced within the hearth.
“As well as, seven utility autos (Toyota Hilux) have been burnt.”
INEC stated fortuitously, new good card readers weren’t broken.
Following a hearth incident on the eve of the 2019 basic elections wherein the good card readers for the state have been destroyed, the Fee moved the replacements from the transport containers to the concrete retailer for enhanced safety.
“Additionally yesterday (Sunday), our workplace in Ahiazu Mbaise LGA was attacked at about 6.45 pm in an apparent try and set the constructing ablaze.
“Luckily, the harm was restricted to a bit of the constructing, particularly the home windows and a part of the roof. No electoral supplies or workplace tools have been destroyed.
“At about 1.00 pm yesterday (Sunday), our Igboeze South LGA workplace was attacked.
“The shop was utterly burnt down earlier than the Neighborhood Watch and the Enugu State Fireplace Service responded and prevented the inferno from razing different elements of the constructing.
“That is the third assault on INEC amenities within the state in lower than two weeks following the destruction of our Udenu LGA workplace on thirteenth Could 2021 and the state headquarters constructing in Enugu on sixteenth Could 2021.
“All three incidents in Anambra, Imo and Enugu have been reported to the police for investigation.
“Though no life was misplaced, these are clearly orchestrated and focused assaults aimed toward incapacitating the Fee in conducting electoral actions, particularly in Anambra State.
“The assaults on the Fee’s amenities have now turn into a nationwide emergency. Accordingly, the Fee will temporary the federal government and stakeholders on these incidents.
“Regardless of these setbacks, the Fee is decided to proceed to discharge its obligations together with the conduct of the scheduled Anambra Governorship election.”
Police kill 4 gunmen, get well three autos
The Anambra police command on Sunday evening killed 4 of the gunmen who invaded the state.
Three operational autos of the hoodlums have been recovered.
Our correspondent gathered that three policemen might have been hit throughout a shootout, however the Commissioner of Police, Chris Owolabi, stated no officer was killed.
The gunmen stormed the capital metropolis in three Hilux autos and shot repeatedly at about 9.30 pm.
The hoodlums torched the cost room of the B Division, reverse Chief Jerome Udoji Secretariat in Awka, whereas a Sienna automobile parked outdoors the outpost was riddled with bullets.
An eyewitness stated the assailants got here from Ifite Highway to Dr Alex Ekwueme Sq. earlier than shifting to the INEC workplace, taking pictures nonstop.
Owolabi stated normalcy had returned and urged residents to go about their regular enterprise with none worry.
The police chief stated: “The assault on our cost room at B Division was a decoy to assault INEC workplace
“We mobilised and waited for them. My males have been of their component. We demobilised their three autos, recovered six pump motion weapons, one AK -47 and one Common Function Machine Gun from them
“It was unlucky that they succeeded in burning the collation centre of INEC and 4 autos, nevertheless it was an enormous success for us.
“We didn’t document any casualty, however investigations are nonetheless happening and after it, we offer you full particulars.”
A senior police supply, who pleaded to not be named, stated three of their males had been taken to the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu Instructing Hospital in Awka.
The supply stated no person knew whether or not the officers have been lifeless or alive, including that the command obtained details about the deliberate assault on Sunday morning.
One other eyewitness stated the war-like assault lasted for about two hours.
“They shot for a couple of hour at B-Division earlier than leaving.
“They then stopped at Ekwueme Sq. and shot for about 10 minutes earlier than continuing to the INEC workplace which they set on hearth,” the supply stated.
Timeline of assaults on INEC places of work
No fewer than 23 INEC places of work throughout 10 states have been attacked, vandalised or set ablaze in 24 months.
The Information Processing Centre (DPC) positioned on the premises of the Fee’s state workplace in Kano was razed on April 20.
On Could 2, arsonists burnt the INEC workplace in Essien Udim LGA in Akwa Ibom State. At the very least 345 poll containers, 135 voting cubicles and different tools have been destroyed.
On Could 9, the INEC workplace in Ohafia LGA in Abia State was burnt. The fee’s workplace in Abia South LGA was earlier torched on December 13, 2020.
The fee’s workplace at Udenu LGA headquarters in Obollo-Afor, Enugu was utterly razed on Could 13.
On Could 14, seven Hilux vans have been burnt in an evening assault on the headquarters of the fee in Awka.
On Could 16, the state workplace in Enugu suffered yet one more arson and vandalisation wherein elements of the constructing have been ransacked and a number of other autos razed.
Two extra places of work in Ebonyi and Ezza North LGAs in Ebonyi have been burnt on Could 18.