The Chief Security Officer, CSO, and Council Chairman of Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Barr Steve Nwamkpa Emenike, Monday expressed displeasure over the burning of the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, located within his LGA.
The Council boss, who spoke with Vanguard on phone, over the incident, wondered why the deployment of security personnel to the INEC office couldn’t avert the fire incident.
According to him, the INEC Staff that locked up the Commission’s office without prior notice to the security Agencies posted to secure the office has questions to answer, as to who gave him such directive.
Emenike explained that it took about an hour before security agencies and sympathizers could gain access to the office, which was already on fire.
He added that his office had ensured the mobilization of security agencies to the Commission’s office, days before the incident occurred.
“I got a distress call at about 11 a.m. on Sunday that the INEC office in Izzi LGA was on fire. Before then, on Thursday I learned that non-sensitive materials were brought to the INEC office in Izzi and needed adequate Security.
“We mobilized Ebubeagu, four mobile policemen, and also directed the DPO to mobilize more of his personnel. Consequently, they were mobilized for the security of that very place.
“Before the incident occurred, the INEC Staff in charge of the place locked the place on Saturday. We asked him when he was apprehended, and he notified us that he was locking the place because even security couldn’t access the place.
“The INEC office is completely fenced and securely padlocked. And on Sunday by 11 a.m. the place was on fire.
“INEC should give more explanation as to their role because the place was completely locked. The Staff locked up the place and left. Who carried out the attack on the INEC office? There was no gunshot, no intrusion, or physical attack, and the security men were seated down there.
“To me, the INEC Staff is to make explanations and clarification concerning the incident. You have to talk to the Police Commissioner because the policemen were on the ground when the fire incident occurred.
“The policemen and other people who came to rescue the situation couldn’t gain access to the place, because it was locked and fully secured. The gate was padlocked.
“Anybody can say anything. I want to excuse my Party, the APC from any shoddy deal. The Party is in charge of the State, and the people and why will a Party with such comparative advantage want to sabotage itself? Those making the such accusation are the ones that should be looked at with binocular glasses as to why they are saying so.
“Who directed that the Staff padlocked the place and leave? Is the premises not fully secured? It took almost an hour for security operatives to gain access to the INEC office.”
Contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Ebonyi State Police Command, SP Chris Anyanwu who confirmed that it was difficult for them (Policemen) to gain access to the office after a distress call was put across, added the Criminal Investigation Department, CID, had commenced investigation into the matter.