An unspecified number of card readers and ballot boxes were destroyed when the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State caught fire.
NEWS FLAKES NG gathers that the fire destroyed the office early on Friday, March 8, 2019, just a day before the commencement of the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections.
While speaking during an interview on Channels Television on Friday, the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mike Igini, revealed that card readers and ballot boxes were destroyed in the fire.
He said, “In the wee hours of this morning, I got a call that one of area offices has been gutted by fire so we had to call the Fire Service and DPO around that area.
“They all moved in there and were able to evacuate the entire ballot papers that had been delivered to the local government the previous day intact.
“What we had destroyed there are just card readers, the register, ballot boxes and 13 generator sets.”
Igini assured that the commission is already working hard to rectify the situation to ensure that Saturday’s elections go ahead as planned.
“What we’re doing now is to quickly try to mop up our card readers and as I speak to you, we’ve already recovered from our reserve.
“It’s just one local government and just parts of the office so we’re good to go, irrespective of what has happened. The configuration of the card readers is already ongoing,” he said.
The REC disclosed during the interview that the fire is suspected to have been started by saboteurs, noting that footprints were discovered around the scene of the fire.