From Obinna Odogwu, Awka and Jude Chinedu, Enugu
Gunmen, on Sunday night, attacked the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Awka and a police division opposite Jerome Udoji Secretariat, near Aroma Junction.
The hoodlums burnt the charge room of the ‘B’ Division before proceeding to the INEC office where they set their collation centre, a store housing generators, other equipment and another store serving other purposes on fire.
Also at the INEC headquarters, seven operational vehicles belonging to the commission were set ablaze. While four were completely burnt, three were partially razed.
Daily Sun gathered that the armed hoodlums robbed a filling station, carted away petroleum products and cash before heading to the INEC office where they wreaked havoc.
A source in the fuel station, who pleaded anonymity, told Daily Sun that the criminals stormed the place with eight pickup vans and some gallons with which they took fuel and diesel.
She narrated the hoodlums also refilled the tanks of all the eight vehicles before moving into the office from where they carted away a large sum of money from the day’s sales.
The source also said the gunmen beat up the security man on duty, snatched his pump action rifle and, also, robbed all the customers present at the filling station, but later returned their phones.
Commissioner of Police in the state, CP Chris Owolabi, while briefing newsmen after his inspections at INEC, said that his men recorded a major success as they were able to repel the criminals. He said that three of the gunmen’s vehicles were demobilised and some firearms recovered from them. He added that the police were already combing hospitals and remote areas looking for the fleeing hoodlums.
Owolabi said: “In the onset, there was an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) thrown into the place which exploded at the charge room and set the charge room on fire. But we all knew that it was a decoy to attack INEC.
Also, on Sunday, another office of INEC in Ibeagwa-aka, Igboeze South Local Government Area of Enugu State was set ablaze by unidentified persons. The incidence, which occurred at about 11pm, on Sunday night, brings to three the number of INEC offices, so far, attacked in the state in less that one month. The Chief security officer of Igboeze-South LG, Mr Romanus Ezekwueme, told Daily Sun, yesterday, that hoodlums gained access to the building by scaling through the fence and put the building on fire.