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Fire guts Anambra INEC office, destroys sensitive materials

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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) office in Anambra State has been razed by fire, which destroyed two containers of sensitive electoral materials.

Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji, who left a stakeholders meeting at the Women Development Centre, Awka, yesterday told newsmen during a media briefing at INEC premises that the cause of the fire could not be immediately ascertained.

He, however, explained that the containers were used to store card readers, files and other sensitive materials for Saturday’s election, adding that investigation was still on to unravel the cause of the incident.

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A detachment of firefighters was sighted battling to put out the inferno, as thick smoke emanated from the premises.

Also, security agents including the Nigerian Police, DSS and Civil Defence personnel, among others cordoned of the road from traffic and commuters, while visitors were barred from entering the premises.

But in spite of the incident, the Nigeria Police and INEC have assured the people of a peaceful atmosphere during Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections.

Orji added that INEC has completed 12 of 14 programmes lined up for the 2019 election, saying over two million voters were registered and are eligible to vote in the state.

Also speaking, the newly deployed Commissioner of Police (CP) in Anambra, Dan Daura Mustafa warned trouble makers, especially hoodlums and thugs to stay away from polling units, stressing that all flash points have been marked out and taken care of.

However, barely 72 hours to the Presidential and National Assembly elections, the Federal Government has again raised alarm over alleged plot by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to scuttle the exercise.

It alleged that the opposition party was planning to orchestrate crisis and trigger panic among the populace in furtherance of its plans to discredit the election and cause constitutional crisis.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, in a statement in Abuja yesterday alleged that PDP bigwigs, including its presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, his running mate, Peter Obi, governors and others are planning a world press conference to level frivolous allegations against the Federal Government.

But in a swift reaction, PDP said President Buhari was raising false alarm to attract sympathy from Nigerians and accused the party masterminding the burning of INEC offices nationwide.


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