By Emmanuel Oloniruha, Abuja.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says its office in Enugu South Local Government Area (LGA) of Enugu State has been attacked by some gunmen, with just 39 days to the 2023 general elections.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, who disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Monday, said that the office was attacked on Sunday.
INEC had earlier reported five arsons on its offices in Enugu between 2019 and 2022.
The incidents include arson and vandalism by gunmen on INEC’s Udenu LGA office on May 13, 2021, state headquarters office on May 21, 2021 and Ugbeeeze South LGA office on May 23, 2021.
Okoye said that the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Enugu State, Dr Chukwuemeka Chukwu, reported that the office was attacked by gunmen around 9.12 p.m. on Sunday.
“The security gatehouse was razed. Fortunately, the attackers could not gain access to the main building, as a result of the rapid response from the Police and Army personnel from 82 Division.
“The state Commissioner of Police and the REC were personally at the scene immediately they received information about the attack.
“Of the two policemen deployed to protect the facility, one of them lost his life, while the other sustained injuries and is receiving treatment,” he said.
Okoye prayed for the repose of the soul of the deceased policeman and for the speedy recovery of the injured.
He said that while the destroyed gatehouse would be rebuilt, INEC was proceeding with its preparations for the 2023 general elections in Enugu State and the entire country, as scheduled.
Okoye said that the attack was being investigated by the security agencies.
He also said that a meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in Enugu State, co-chaired by the REC and the Commissioner of Police, had been convened to discuss the latest incident.
He said that the meeting was also to design additional strategies of fortifying the offices and protecting INEC personnel and materials.