Nigeria 2023: Election office, vote materials torched in southeast Nigeria

Posted on Monday, 28 November 2022 12:35

It's back to the polling booth for Nigerians Photo: REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja

Nigeria's electoral authority said one of its offices and voting materials were torched on Sunday in the country's volatile southeast, in a fresh attack occurring ahead of a presidential ballot several months away.

Nigerians in February will elect a successor to President Muhammadu Buhari, who is stepping down after two terms in office.

Concerns have grown over recent attacks on the offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), particularly in the southeast.

INEC spokesman Festus Okoye said the commision’s office for the Izzi area in Ebonyi state was set on fire on Sunday.

“The incident occurred around 10.00 am when some unidentified persons set the entire building ablaze,” Okoye said in a statement.

“Although no casualties resulted from the attack, the main building and all the movable and immovable items inside it were destroyed,” he said.

The losses included 340 ballot boxes, 130 voting cubicles, 14 electric power generators, and also quantities of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs).

It was the third attack on an INEC office in three weeks following similar attacks in southwestern Ogun and Osun states on November 10.

INEC has recently warned of the threat of intensifying campaign violence ahead of the election, adding that it had tracked at least 50 attacks in the last two months.

An IPOB denial

Parliamentary and state elections will also be held in February.

Although no group claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack, southeast Nigeria has seen scores of assaults blamed on the outlawed separatists, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) group or its armed wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN).

IPOB, which seeks a separate state for ethnic Igbo people in the southeast, has repeatedly denied responsibility for the violence.

More than 100 police and other security personnel have been killed since the beginning of last year in targeted attacks, according to local media tallies.

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