[By VICTOR NZE]
With barely a month to the Governorship election in the state, thousands of voter’s Smart Card readers have been destroyed after a mystery fire engulfed the warehouse of the Ondo State Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) head office in Akure, the Ondo State capital, Thursday night.
The fire which has been confirmed by the state INEC, is said to have started late on Thursday night, but has since been contained.
Information from the Ondo office of INEC also disclosed that personnel of the Fire Service contained the fire but only after the card readers had been destroyed by the raging fire.
“Fire broke out today, Thursday September 10, 2020 at the Ondo State Head Office of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Akure. The inferno, which gutted the container housing Smart Card Readers.
“Men of the Fire Service are however currently containing the fire.
“National Commissioner, Barrister Festus Okoye, who is in Ondo State in connection with preparations for the Ondo State Governorship election scheduled for 10th October 2020, rushed to the office at about 8pm.
“The Administrative Secretary of the State, Mr. Popoola and some staff of the Commission are also there.
“Barrister Okoye said investigation into the cause of the fire will commence promptly after the fire has been contained,” said INEC via its Twitter handle, @inecnigeria, Thursday.
Over 5, 000 smart card readers were reportedly destroyed in the Thursday night blaze.
Okoye said the fire, which started around 8:00pm, gutted a container placed in a confined area at INEC containing Smart Card Readers.
“We already have 4000 of the Smart Card Readers inside the container but additional 1000 was brought into the state for the purpose of the election.
“So, we have close to 5100 cards that have been affected by the inferno,” Okoye said.