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Again, arsonists struck Independent Electoral Commission INEC, as Ebonyi Office branch was set ablaze by suspected hoodlums.
The attack occured on Sunday at the INEC Office in Izzi Local Government Area located at Iboko.
The INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, confirmed the incident in a statement.
He said the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Ebonyi State, Mrs Onyeka Pauline Ugochi, reported that the incident occurred around 10.00am when some unidentified persons set the entire building ablaze.
Okoye said although no casualty resulted from the attack, the main building and all the movable and immovable items inside it were destroyed.
According to her, “These include 340 ballot boxes, 130 voting cubicles, 14 electric power generators, large water storage tanks, assorted office furniture and fixtures and yet to be determined quantities of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs).
“The attention of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies has been drawn to the incident and have commenced investigation.
“Sadly, this is the third attack on our Local Government office in less than three weeks following similar attacks on our offices in Ogun and Osun States on 10th November 2022,” he added.
In a previous development on Tuesday, Festus Okoyie made it known that there would be a retreat with Residents Electoral Commissioners to discuss some salient issues.
Some of the issues included in the statement as obtained are the prosecution of offenders and date and procedure for collection of PVCs.
He said, “Following the end of the statutory period for the display of the register of voters for claims and objections, the commission is determined to make the collection of PVCs as seamless as possible. A Standard Operating Procesure (SOP) has been developed.
“This will be among the issues rk be discussed and finalized at a retreat holding in Lagos from 28th November to 2md December, 2022, involving all the Residents Electoral Commissioners (RECs) from the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).” He stated
Speaking on the prosecution of offenders and efforts of the Nigerian Police in clamping down on the violators, hs said a violator found in possession of PVCs in Sokoto has been prosecuted and sent to one year jail term.
“In the last couple of Weeks, the Nigeria police has arrested One individuals found to be in illegal possession of voters cards in some states in the federation. In one case, the police has completed investigation and handed over the case file to the Commission, resulting in the prosection of one Nasiru Idris at one Magistrate court in Sokoto who was found to be in possession of 101 PVCs, in contravention of section of s 117 and 145 of the electoral act 2002. He has been sentenced to one year imprisonment.
“Similarly, the police in Kano State has arrested a man who was found to be in possession of 367 PVSc. The suspect have been charged to court and the Commission is pursuing his prosecution.
“The Commission wishes to reiterate that it will continue to pursue all violators of re electoral Act and ensure their diligent prosecution.” He submitted.
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