ELECTORAL MATERIALS DESTROYED AS INEC OFFICE IS REPORTEDLY SET ABLAZE IN AKWA IBOM

A suspected arson attack on the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ibesikpo Asuntan local government area of Akwa Ibom state has resulted in the destruction of some electoral materials.

An online newspaper, The Cable, reports that the suspected attack occurred a day before the scheduled governorship and state assembly elections in the state, adding that security officials were unable to evacuate the electoral materials when the fire started.

Another news medium, Premium Times, reports that the cause of the fire which started around 2am on Friday, March 8, is still under investigation for now.

“We heard an explosion inside the building, when we rushed to check what it was, we saw flames of fire coming from one of the rooms,” a guard at the office said.

We raised alarm for help, and then we started fighting the fire, using water and sand. But it was too much for us.

Some election materials including several card readers meant for use in the Saturday March 9 elections were reportedly destroyed by the fire, but INEC has not indicated if the incident would affect the conduct of the elections.

Reports have it that the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mike Igini, is said to have visited the scene to ascertain the extent of the damage.

Meanwhile, Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that the electoral commission will not issue certificates of return to any candidate declared winner of an election under duress.

Yakubu made the statement in Abuja on Thursday, March 7, during a meeting with the inter-agency consultative committee on election security, The Cable reports.

The INEC chairman said the commission will not tolerate the intimidation and forcing its staff to declare winners under duress.

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