Thursday, May 23, 2019

Burning of INEC's Office in Akwa Ibom will not stop Saturday’s polls, says REC

Burning of INEC's Office in Akwa Ibom will not stop Saturday’s polls, says REC

Mike Igini, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Akwa Ibom, on Friday said the burning of its Local Government Area Office in the state would not stop Saturday’s polls.

Hoodlums on Friday set fire to the INEC Office in Ibesikpo/Asutan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom.

Reacting to the incident, Igini said that the heinous act would not deter the Commission from carrying out its duties, as most of the sensitive materials for the conduct of the elections were still intact.

The REC, who went on the spot assessment of the incident, said: “there is no going back on the March 9 elections in Akwa Ibom.

“Election will hold as scheduled, no matter the plot.”

He revealed that some Card Readers, electricity generators, computers and other Office equipment were burnt.

Narrating how the incident occurred, INEC Director of Public Affairs in the state, Don Etukudoh, said the fire started at about 3:00 a.m on Friday.

According to him, an explosive device was thrown into the building which ripped the roof open and substantial damage done to the wall with several Card Readers burnt.

“From our findings, the place was attacked with explosives because we noticed huge damage done to the walls and the roof completely shattered.

“We have been able to order several Cards Readers from the neighbouring states and we are presently configuring them in readiness for the elections,”  he said.

The Electoral Officer (EO) for Ibesikpo/Asutan, Victor Inyang, said that the polls would go on as planned because no ballot paper was destroyed by the fire.

“They thought the election materials were kept in the store,” he added.

The incident, he reiterated, would not deter the conduct of the polls in all the 177 polling units in Ibesikpo Asutan as other sensitive and non-sensitive materials other than the card readers were not affected by the inferno.

The fire was extinguished by men of the state fire service.

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