The Independent National Electoral Commission lost at least 48 offices to attacks by arsonists, hoodlums and other militias in 46 months, according to a report by the Partnership Foundation in the Niger Delta.
The attacks occurred between January 2019 and October 2022.
PIND, in its special report published in December, 2022 on its website, spotlighted major areas around the Niger Delta region where the attacks occurred.
According to the report, recent incidents indicated a resurgence of targeted attacks on INEC offices and facilities in Imo State.
“In April 2022, for instance, separatist militias reportedly attacked a voter registration center and killed a worker of the electoral commission in Amakohia community, Ihitte Uboma LGA. In December, the office of the electoral commission was reportedly vandalised and set ablaze by hoodlums in Orlu LGA.
“More recently, on December 04, 2022, hoodlums reportedly attacked another office of the electoral commission in Oru West LGA. The hoodlums allegedly destroyed several office furniture and fittings during the incident. Since January, more than seven facilities of the electoral commission have reportedly been attacked across Nigeria,” part of the report read.
The PIND report also showed that Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, recorded 13 attacks in the period under review.
It said Bayelsa had nine, Nnewi, in Anambra State, eight; Uyo and Eket, in Akwa Ibom, five; Akure, in Ondo State, four; Owerri, the Imo State capital, three; Warri, Delta State, two; Niger State, two; and, Ala Oji in Abia State, two, bringing the number of attacks to 48.
“The current spate of vandalism and arson targeting election facilities could have a far-reaching adverse impact on human security. The situation could evolve into indiscriminate destruction of public infrastructure and targeted killing of public officials, voters, and political aspirants.
“This could trigger widespread civil unrest and a breakdown of law and order which could bring about serious psychosocial, security, and health consequences for communities and residents,” the report added.
The group further lamented that vandalism of election facilities could impose a huge financial burden on INEC and the government at the local, state, and national levels.
It said recurrent attacks on election facilities and other public infrastructure could also create anxiety and insecurity which could disrupt commercial activities and impose huge economic costs on individuals and businesses.
PUNCH Nigeria Ltd