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 Fire guts INEC’s electoral institute

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eddyvic
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PostSubject: Fire guts INEC’s electoral institute   Mon 16 Mar 2015, 5:38 am

The Independent National Electoral
Commission’s Electoral Institute in
Abuja has been gutted by fire.
The fire which began at about 11pm
on Saturday destroyed bags,
envelopes, election forms and
electrical control panel/ switch in
the institute’s warehouse before it
was contained at 2am on Sunday.
Before INEC spoke on the incident,
there was apprehension,
especially in Abuja on Sunday that
some sensitive materials for the
March 28 and April 11 general
elections might have been affected
by the inferno.
INEC described the items damaged
by the fire as “non-sensitive and
old materials” used for the 2011
elections.
The result of the 2011 presidential
poll was announced within the
compound of the institute, which is
located along the Airport Road,
Abuja.
The electoral body also ruled out
political sabotage and assured
Nigerians that the incident would
not in any way affect the conduct of
the forthcoming elections.
INEC Director of Security, Mr.
Shettima Ngilladar, who conducted
journalists around the affected
area, said there was a power surge
which caused the electrical panel/
switch to go up in flames.
He explained that no materials for
the general elections were in the
warehouse as of the time of the fire
as they had been moved to all the
states of the federation.
Ngilladar said, “These are non-
sensitive materials that have been
banned in the warehouse. You will
see it yourself. It is not hidden.
“It is something clear, these
banned non-sensitive materials
have nothing to do with the
elections.
“They are old materials in store
that have not been evacuated.
These are old stock of non-
sensitive materials, like bags,
envelopes, election forms which
were used in the 2011 elections.
“They won’t be used for the 2015
elections. Everything here is non-
sensitive.”
Disclosing that security agencies
had already started investigating
the incident, the commisson’s
security director, said he could not
state the financial loss recorded by
INEC.
He said, “I cannot quantify the
financial loss now because they are
envelopes, bags and used forms for
elections. So, it is not something I
can say how much now.”
On the likelihood of political
sabotage, he said, “Whether it is
too long or too early, there is no
political motive about it. It was was
caused by power surge.”
INEC’s Deputy Director, Electoral
Logistics, Ken Ukeagu, also said
sensitive materials required for
general elections had been moved
to the states.
He added, “Whatever we have here
are old stocks of the materials. You
know the normal process of
disposing materials take a little
while. But these materials here are
not useful for 2015 elections. Even
if these were materials that would
have been used, there is no way it
would affect the elections.
“All materials required for the
election have been moved to the
state, there is no way anything
happening here will affect the
elections.”
INEC Commissioner in Charge of
Electoral Logistics, Mohammed
Hammanga, who was also at the
institute to inspect the damage,
expressed happiness that the
materials affected were old stock.
“We thank God it has not gone
beyond this. We are happy that it
has not destroyed the materials
that will be used in the election,”
he stated.
Like Ngilladar and Ukeagu, the
Chief Press Secretary to the
chairman of the commission,
Kayode Idowu, said the damaged
items would not affect the general
elections.
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