INEC losses 4,695 Smart Card Readers to fire in Anambra

Fire fighters trying to put out fire that burnt Card Reader Machines in a container at the INEC headquarters in Awka, Anambra State on Tuesday (12/2/19).<br />01351/12/2/2019/Patrick Anaso/HB/ICE/NAN

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that 4,695 Smart Card Readers were destroyed by fire that engulfed its Anambra State headquarters office on Tuesday.

The commission disclosed this in a statement issued by Mr Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee on Tuesday in Abuja.

Okoye, however, said that election in the state would hold as scheduled as it would mop up some of the spare Card Readers from other states to Anambra.

He said that the commission regretted to inform the public that there had been another fire incident in its Anambra State office, making it the third fire incidence within the last 12 days.

“This is the third of such incidents in the last 12 days, following closely behind those of lsiala Ngwa and Qua’an Pan Local Government offices in Abia and Plateau States respectively.

“While the Commission awaits the details of the latest incident, it notes with some relief that there was no fatality or injury reported.

“Initial assessment, however, confirms that a total of 4,695 of the Smart Card Readers were destroyed in the inferno.

“While this is no doubt a setback to our preparations for the smooth conduct of the elections in Anambra State, the Commission has taken immediate measures to ameliorate the situation, by mopping up some of the spare Card Readers from other States to deploy to Anambra State.

“With the steps so far taken, the Commission remains confident that the election in the state will proceed as scheduled.’’

Okoye said that in the meantime INEC had reported the incident to the Police and the Fire Service and investigations into the cause had commenced.

He commended the Fire Service for its response, which according to the commission prevented the spread of the fire and averted more damage.

The first incident occurred in Isiala Ngwa South LGA office of the Commission in Abia State on Saturday Feb. 2, while the second occurred at the Qua’an Pan LGA office of the Commission in Plateau State on Saturday Feb. 9.

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