Six Policemen Detained Over Burning Of INEC Facility

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Six policemen have been arrested over the attack on the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) Registration Area Centre (RAC) by hoodlums in Ebonyi state.

The arrested officers were deployed to Ezza North Local Government Area for the March 9 Governorship and Assembly Elections in Ebonyi State.

The hoodlums had attacked the INEC facility around 2 am on the Election Day, burning down three RAC buildings which had all the sensitive and non-sensitive electoral materials for the election in the area.

It was gathered the policemen were arrested and detained for allegedly allowing the hoodlums to carry out their action without arresting any of the suspects or preventing them.

Commissioner of police, Mr. Awoshola Awotinde, who reported the incident to Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of election monitoring in south East, ordered for the immediate arrest and proper investigation of the incident.

Police Spokesman, Loveth Odah, confirmed the arrest of the policemen.

She said that having failed to protect the election materials, they were arrested and undergoing orderly room trial.

She assured if found guilty, they would face their punishment which may include dismissal from the force.

 “Two mobile policemen were posted to each of the three RACs that were attacked.

“We post them there because we know such attack could come or for them to counter such attacks, but also because they needed to be closer, while calling on tactical unit once there is any eventuality.

“But we were surprised that the invaders came and got all the materials and the building burnt unchallenged.

“Just like I use to tell you every day that police cannot sweep public complaints under the carpet, we don’t tolerate indiscipline and as we checkmate the public, we also checkmate our colleagues.

“So the Commissioner of Police ordered for their arrest. They have been under investigation to ascertain whether their claims were true,” she said.

She went on: “The most senior among them said that as soon as those thugs arrived, they switched off the generator and everywhere became dark to the extent that someone could not see the rare end.

”The six of them were posted to the three RACs that the incident happened.

“We are waiting for INEC officials who were posted to come and give their own statement because it will be vital information in the investigation and it will help us to ascertain if what the police officers said is true.”

Meanwhile, INEC is set to conduct supplementary elections in the two-state constituencies affected by the attack.

36,000 voters were disenfranchised as a result of the incident forcing the electoral body to declare the election inconclusive.

The supplementary election is according to a statement by INEC in the state will hold on Saturday, March 23.

The statement by the Acting Administrative Secretary of INEC in the state, Mr. Andy Ezeani said supplementary election will also hold in some polling units in Izzi local government area.

“For Ebonyi State consequently, supplementary elections will be held in the following Constituencies; Ezza North West (Ekka Registration Area – 16 PUs and Oriuzor Registration Area, 32 PUs/VPs); Ezza North East (Okposi Umuoghara Registration Area – 27 PU/VPs)

“Izzi East 19 PUs across the following Registration Areas; Igbeagu Nduogbu, Igbeagu Ndietta, Igbeagu III, Mgbaluku I, Mgbabeluzor and Ndieze Ndiabor Ishiagu,” Ezeani said in the statement.

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