The office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in Obingwa local government area of Abia state was on Sunday burnt down by unidentified assailants.
According to reports, the incident which occurred in the afternoon, at about 1pm yesterday razed the entire building including the store and Electoral Officer’s office.
A resident of the staff quarters at the council headquarters, who pleaded anonymity revealed that thick smoke was seen from their residence, emanating from the INEC office.
“We came back from church and saw a thick smoke around the INEC office. Before we could know what to do, security men had cordoned off the area. The fire nearly spread to the Education and Social Development buildings before it was put off, but by then everything had been burnt.”
The state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, who inspected the scene of the fire incident, totally condemned the act, describing the perpetrators as “enemies of the state”.
Mr Ikpeazu expressed shock at the level of damage done to the building and urged the police and other law enforcement agencies to ensure that the culprits were brought to book.
He called on the Police and the Army to beef up security in all INEC formations in the state to forestall any such incidents.
The Governor condemned the tendency of some disgruntled elements in the society to vandalise public property, stressing that such acts were big drawbacks to the efforts of government in providing dividend of democracy to the residents.
The Governor reiterated the determination of his government to maintain law and order and protect lives and property of the Abia citizenry.
Recall that electoral results from Obingwa LGA are among the areas being contested by the parties at the Election Petition Tribunal.
There are however fears that sensitive materials used in the conduct of 2015 general elections including the ones used for the governorship elections may have been engulfed by the fire.
Residents of the community say the fire outbreak was politically motivated as suspected political thugs armed with knives, cutlasses and guns stormed the local government before setting the electoral office on fire.
This action comes ahead of the August 10th date fixed for the commencement of the state election tribunal.