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Ondo 2020: Over 5000 card readers burnt in fire at INEC office

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has confirmed that at least 5,141 card readers were burnt as fire gutted the commission’s head office in Akure, Ondo State capital.

PREMIUM TIMES reported that the fire which broke out at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, gutted the container housing smart card readers for the October 10 governorship election.

The incident occurred exactly one month to the governorship poll in the state.

Immediately the fire broke out, Festus Okoye, INEC spokesperson who is in Ondo State alongside other staff, arrived the scene as the fire service tried to quench the fire.

PREMIUM TIMES gathered from sources that the fire was caused by an electrical surge, and the office of the fire service close to the INEC headquarters could not help due to lack of water to put out the inferno early enough.

Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES Friday in a telephone interview, Mr Okoye said that no fewer than 5,141 card readers were burnt in the inferno.

He also explained that the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) section of the commission was affected.

Mr Okoye further said the commission would investigate the cause of the incident.

He did not explain whether it will affect the upcoming election or not.

This is at least the third time that an INEC office would be engulfed in fire in 2020.

Fire gutted an INEC office in Orlu, Imo State, due to indiscriminate bush burning in February. Also, in the same month, the INEC office in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State was gutted by fire.

In April, the Abuja office of INEC was engulfed in fire which affected the office of INEC’s Director of Voter Registry, Emmanuel Akem.

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