The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says none of the critical election materials was destroyed in the attack on its state headquarters office in Owerri, the Imo State capital on Monday.
The Commission in a statement by its National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Card Education Committee Chairman, Festus Okoye, also confirmed that no staff of the Commission was killed in the incident which he said occurred at about 3.00 am on Monday.
However, the statement said the attack affected the part of the building occupied by the Election and Party Monitoring (EPM) Department and one official utility vehicle (a Toyota Hilux pickup van) was burnt.
INEC said this is the third attack on the Commission’s facilities in Imo State in less than two weeks following earlier attacks in its Orlu LGA office on Thursday 1st December 2022 and Oru West LGA office on Sunday 4th December 2022.
The Commission described the incident as yet another systematic attack targeted at its assets across the country, more so on the day that the collection of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) commenced nationwide ahead of the 2023 general election.
In the most recent attack on an INEC facility in Imo State, four persons including one policeman were killed at the headquarters of the Commission along Port Harcourt Road.
According to the spokesperson for the Imo State Police Command, Mike Abattam, the gunmen numbering over 10 came around 3:00 am with petrol bombs and dynamite. He, however, said the hoodlums were confronted by security operatives who repelled the attack and killed three of the attackers.
Abattam also said one of the attackers was arrested by the police and three vehicles used by hoodlums were recovered.