INEC replaces ballot boxes, voting cubicles lost in Plateau fire

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has replaced election materials lost in the fire that destroyed its office in Qua’an Pan local government area of Plateau State.

The fire outbreak completely razed the commission’s office on Saturday, February 9, 2019, with several materials burnt, including 360 voting cubicles, 755 ballot boxes, 14 generators, election forms and officials stamps.

INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, had disclosed that a total number of 5,987 uncollected permanent voters’ cards (PVC) were also destroyed.

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However, in a statement posted on the commission’s official Twitter account (@inecnigeria) on Friday, February 15, the voting cubicles and ballot boxes have been replaced.

“Truck carrying ballot boxes and voting cubicles offloaded at Qu’an Pan LGA of Plateau State to replace those destroyed in the recent fire incident.

“Reprinting of voters’ register for all polling units completed. Office relocated to a new building. Elections will hold in Qu’an Pan,” a brief statement read.

Even though Okoye disclosed in his statement that the destroyed PVCs would be reprinted and made available for collection before the elections, that appears to be unlikely as collection for PVCs ended on Monday, February 11.

The Qua’an Pan fire incident was the third to affect INEC in the space of 12 days. The commission lost 4,695 smart card readers in a fire that destroyed two containers filled with election materials at its Anambra State head office on Tuesday, February 12. It also lost 2979 PVCs in another fire at its office in Isiala Ngwa LGA in Abia State on Saturday, February 2, cards the commission announced on Sunday, November 10 to have now been reprinted and delivered to the LGA.

On Thursday, February 14, the commission revealed that some of the card readers lost in Anambra have already been configured and delivered to 14 LGAs.

“Working hard on the remaining 7 LGAs – Ayamelum, Ogbaru, Idemili North, Idemili South, Aguata, Awka North and Oyi,” the statement read.

The commission has requested additional security measures to enhance security around its offices and other critical structures before, during and after elections.

“The commission wishes to assure all Nigerians that it will not succumb to the antics of arsonists whose motive might be to create fear in the minds of voters and sabotage the conduct of the 2019 general elections,” an official statement read.

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