FOLLOWING the burning of permanent voter cards (PVCs), at a fire incident which gutted the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) office in Qua’an Pan Council Area, Plateau State, the Commission says it will reprint all burnt PVCs.
INEC described the fire incident as an “emerging trend” because two of its offices were burnt in a week.
The fire incident which occurred on Saturday at Plateau State was the second in a week. A fire had previously occurred on February 2 at Isiala Ngwa local government office of the electoral commission, Abia State where nearly 3000 permanent voter cards were destroyed.
The Saturday incident saw to the burning of nearly 6,000 PVCs and other relevant materials which included 755 ballot boxes, 380 voting cubicles, 14 generators, election forms and official stamps.
According to a statement signed by the National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, of INEC, the acting inspector general of police, Mohammed Adamu, has been notified of the burning of the local government offices of the commission close to the conduct of the elections and at a period when it is engaged in the massive movement of election-related materials nationwide.
INEC directed the resident electoral commissioner for Plateau to open a register for all those in the affected area who approach the commission to collect their PVCs within the specified period where it lapsed on Monday.
“The Commission will print the PVCs and make them available for collection in good time before the elections,” the statement read. It added that INEC has “reprinted and delivered the PVCs of the registered voters in Isiala Ngwa South in Abia State where 2979 cards were affected”.
It called on the IGP to provide additional security measures to enhance security around INEC offices and other critical structures of the commission.
INEC said relevant security agencies have been requested to arrest and justice, persons or groups involved in the attacks on the offices of the commission.
Responding to the uncalled burning, the Peoples Democratic Party Plateau State said the party “finds it strange that such fire could have ignited in a building housing very important materials just as preparations for the national election are intensifying in the minute” in a statement on Monday signed by the Chairman of the party’s Media and Publicity Committee, Mr Yiljap Abraham.
The party has called on the relevant experts to investigate and release their findings on the cause of the inferno.