No fewer than 5,000 Smart Card Readers were reportedly destroyed in the fire that engulfed the Ondo State Head Office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in Akure, on Thursday.
Confirming the sad development, on Friday, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC in the state, Amb. Rufus Akeju, told newsmen that the inferno started at about 7:30p.m after the office had been closed for the day.
According to him, 5,141 Smart Card Reader machines were destroyed in the fire.
Mr. Akeju stressed that things could have been worse, had it not been for the timely intervention of the men of the Ondo State Fire Service, Federal Fire Service, and fire service officials from Ilesa, Osun State.
At the time of reporting, the actual cause of the fire wa unknown, but Mr. Akeju assured that appropriate agencies are already investigating the incident.
The INEC Commissioner also stated that the incident would not affect the coming election in the state, stressing that necessary arrangements are being put in place to replace the burnt materials.
The fire outbreak, on Thursday, came only a few weeks to the October 10 governorship election in the state.
INEC’s Commissioner in charge of Information and Voters Education, Mr. Festus Okoye, also told journalists at the scene of the incident that the fire affected the Information and Communication Technology section of the Commission.
Speaking further on the damaged materials, Mr. Okoye revealed that about 1000 card readers delivered to INEC from Osun State were caught up in the flames alongside over 4000 card readers belonging to INEC in Ondo State.
He, however, assured that the inferno would not lead to the postponement of the polls.