Hyelasinda Musa Kimo, Ebonyi State Commissioner of Police, has ordered the arrest of six policemen detailed to guard the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Okposi Umuoghara, Ezza North Local Government Area, before it was burnt.
Loveth Odah, spokeseperson of Ebonyi State Police Command, said this in a press statement issued on Friday.
The materials for Registration Area Centres (RACs) in Ezza LGA were set ablaze during the preparation for the governorship and national assembly elections in the state.
A total of 36,392 registered voters in three out of 11 wards in the council area were disenfranchised due to the inferno that gutted voting materials meant to be used in Oriuzo 009, Okposi Umuoghara 007, and Ekaa 002 RACs.
The statement by Odah read: “Two mobile policemen were posted to each of the wards that were attacked. We didn’t post them there because we knew such attack would come or for them to counter the attack, but because they needed to be closer, while they call 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. So the Commissioner of Police ordered for their arrest. They have been under investigation to ascertain whether their claims were true.
“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. So seeing the light go off they knew there was problem. But the problem is where do you shoot from because any careless shooting could lead to the loss of innocent citizens they were meant to protect. He stated that that idea made them not to act at all.
“But that was not enough. You know we do not believe any story told by anybody to defend himself because it might be to prevent themselves from being punished. That is why they have been subjected to our internal investigation to enable us ascertain if actually what they are saying is true. But for now investigation is still on. The six of them were posted to the three wards that the incident happened. We are waiting for INEC officials who were posted to come and give their own statement, which is vital information in the investigation and it will help us to ascertain if what the police officers said was true.”