By Oginyi Ruth
No fewer than six policemen have been arrested over the reported setting ablaze of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) Registration Area Centre (RAC) by unknown hoodlums.
The arrested officers were deployed to Ezza North Local Government Area for the March 9 Governorship and Assembly Elections in Ebonyi State.
The hoodlums who attacked the RAC had reportedly burnt down the INEC building and some sensitive electoral materials kept for the election in the area.
WARRI TODAY gathered that the policemen were arrested and detained for allegedly allowing the suspects to carry out their action without arresting any of the suspects or preventing.
It was gathered that few hours to commencement of the election, the yet-to-be-identified attacked RAC located in Community Secondary School, Okposi and set the electoral materials ablaze.
The state 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.
When contacted on the arrest, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Loveth Odah while confirming the arrest of the policemen, described the incident as unfortunate.
She said that having failed to protect the election materials, they were arrested and were subjected to orderly room trial and if found guilty, they would face their punishment which may include dismissal from the force.
Odah said, “Two mobile policemen were posted to each of the wards 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.
“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 wards 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.”