The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that its local government office in Essien Udim local government area in Akwa Ibom State has been set on fire.

This was disclosed in a statement issued on Sunday by the National Commissioner and chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye.

The statement said the security guard at the INEC office escaped unhurt, addding that the building and properties were destroyed.

INEC, however, revealed that an investigation by the police into the incident has commenced.

The statement reads, “The Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State, Barr. Mike Igini, has reported that our office in Essien Udim Local Government Area has been set ablaze.

“The incident occurred in the early hours of this morning, Sunday 2nd May 2021. Our security guard on duty escaped unhurt but the destruction to the building and properties therein was extensive. Items destroyed include 345 ballot boxes, 135 voting cubicles, megaphones, water tanks and office furniture.

“It will be recalled that on the eve of the 2019 General Election, our newly constructed prototype LGA office in Ibesikpo Asutan was burnt down while two more offices in Mkpat Enin and Eastern Obolo LGAS were bombed.

“The recent attack on our facility after we have just concluded the inventory of electoral materials nationwide in readiness for the 2023 General Election is worrisome. If unchecked, these attacks may constitute a setback on the Commission’s preparations, including the ongoing conversion of Voting Points to Polling Units, the forthcoming Continuous Registration of Voters (CVR) exercise and the conduct of polls.

“Nevertheless, the Commission wishes to assure Nigerians that we will leave no stone unturned to recover from the incident in Akwa Ibom State as we continue to prepare for all electoral activities.

“The police, which has also been battling with attacks on its facilities and personnel in the area, is aware of the incident and has commenced investigation.”

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