Gunmen have attacked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Enugu South Local Government Area, killing one police officer.
“The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Enugu State, Dr. Chukwuemeka J. Chukwu, has reported that our office in Enugu South Local Government Area was attacked by unknown gunmen. The incident occurred around 9.12 pm yesterday, Sunday 15th January 2023,” INEC National Commissioner Festus Okoye said in a statement Monday.
“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 the 82 Division. The State Commissioner of Police and the REC were personally at the scene immediately after 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.”
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He said the incident is under investigation by security agencies, adding that the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in Enugu State co-chaired by the REC and the Commissioner of Police has been convened to discuss the latest incident and map out strategies to better protect INEC offices, personnel, and materials.
“Meanwhile, the destroyed gatehouse will be rebuilt, and the Commission is proceeding with its preparations for the 2023 General Election in Enugu State and the entire country as scheduled,” Okoye’s statement further noted.
The incident is the latest in the series of assaults on INEC offices in the South-East.
Several security officers have been killed in the attacks. Similar incidents have also happened in other parts of the country.
In late December, INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu said from 2019 to that time, 50 attacks on the Commission’s offices were reported in 15 states.
But the electoral umpire is upbeat, maintaining that the 2023 elections will hold as scheduled.