BREAKING: Fire Guts INEC Office, Election Materials Destroyed

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Barely six days to the 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections, the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Qua’an Pan local government area of Plateau state has been gutted by fire, BIGPEN ONLINE has learnt.

The fire broke out Sunday morning destroying materials for Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections.

However, confirming the incident, Plateau State INEC Head of Department, Voter Education and Publicity, Osaretin Imahiyereobo, described the incident as a setback for the preparations for the general elections in the Local Government Area.

The statement read: “The INEC office is completely burnt with all its content i.e Ballot Boxes, Generators serviced and filled with fuel, cubicles, newly printed electronic and manual Voters Register, uncollected PVCs, materials for the preparations of RAC and other materials yet to be identified.

Imahiyereobohe said that the number of PVCs lost in the inferno is 5987, voting cubicles, 297, ballot boxes 297, 14 generators, one 7KVA, 13, 5KVAs, 2 file cabinets, election forms, Presiding and collation officer’s stamps, election forms, 850 mats for RAC centres, office equipment etc.

“The security on duty at the office 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 in the obsolete materials unknown to him, the fire didn’t go off. The situation was aggravated by the high wind in the area.

Meanwhile, the new Plateau State Commissioner of Police was on ground early in the morning to assess the situation, the statement said.