Polls: A’Ibom INEC office sets ablaze

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Less than 24-hours to the governorship and House of Assembly elections, hoodlums have set ablaze the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office at Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

The incident, according to the Akwa Ibom state’s INEC Director in-charge of Public Affairs, Mr. Don Etukudoh, occurred during the early hours of Friday at about 3:00 am.

According to him, an explosive device was thrown into the building which ripped the roof open and substantial damage done to the walls 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.

In the same vein, Electoral Officer (EO) for Ibesikpo Asutan, Mr. Victor Inyang, said the polls would go on as planned as no ballot papers were destroyed by the fire.

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

The incident, he added, would not deter the conduct of the polls in all the 177 polling units in Ibesikpo Asutan on Saturday as other sensitive and non sensitive materials other than the card readers were not affected by the inferno which was timely put off by quick intervention by men of the state fire service.

Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Oficer (PPRO), DSP Odiko Macdon, said “the Commissioner of Police, Sani Kaoje, is aware of the incident and has detailed senior police operatives to investigate the incident.”

He added that the incident has forced the Police to beef-up security around all INEC offices and centres across the state.

“We are investigating to ascertain whether it was a clear case of arson, and when the investigations are completed, we will let the world know our findings and those found culpable will be made to face the law no matter how highly placed,” he assured.

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