INEC Loses PVCs, Ballot Boxes to Fire, IGP Wades In
Orders tight security around INEC offices nationwide
The Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] says it lost 5,987 Permanent Voters Cards [PVCs] and 297 ballot boxes following a fire outbreak at its office in Qua’an Pan Local Government Area (LGA) of Plateau State.
Head of Media, Publicity, and Voters Education of the Commission, Mr. Osaretin Imahiyereobo, confirmed the incident.
ElombahNews gathered that the office was completely razed down by the raging inferno.
Recently, INEC also suffered another blow when the office at lsiala Ngwa South LGA office in Abia State went up in flames.
Following the fire incident, the commission has promised to reprint burnt PVCs and other election materials.
Mr. Imahiyereobo lamented that a drunken security man was said to have caused the outbreak leading to a serious setback in the preparations for the general elections in the LGA.
In the long run, 5,987 PVCs, 297 voting cubicles, 297 ballot boxes, 14 generator sets (one 7KVA and 13 5KVAs), two file cabinets, election forms, Presiding and Collation Officer’s stamps, 850 mats for RAC centres, office equipment, among others, were lost.
Imahiyereobo said: “The security man allegedly put fire in the obsolete materials evacuated from the store to give room for the other materials expected from the state office.
“The security man, who ran to the divisional police station to report the incident, was said to have put off the earlier fire on the obsolete materials but unknown to him, the fire didn’t go off completely.
“The situation was aggravated by the high wind in the area.”
Imahiyereobo, however, noted that it was too early to suspect any sabotage, adding that a management team of the commission went to the scene of the fire outbreak to have on-the–spot assessment of the incident.
The commission was led by the Administrative Secretary, Mr. Gbadamasi Rasheed.
He added that the new Commissioner of Police to the State, Mr. Isaac Akinmoyede, was also on ground yesterday morning to assess the situation.
IG orders tight security around INEC offices nationwide
Meanwhile, following the fire incidents, the acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered a comprehensive and water-tight security around all INEC offices and facilities nationwide.
He has consequently ordered Commissioners of Police in the states and the Federal Capital Territory to protect all INEC offices and materials before, during and after the elections.
The Force spokesman, Frank Mba, in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, said that Zonal Assistant Inspectors-General of Police had also been mandated to monitor the compliance level of the commands under their jurisdiction to the directive.
“They are to ensure that no breach of security of any kind occurs within and around INEC facilities under their watch; the order takes immediate effect,” the statement said.