INEC loses over 5,000 card readers in Ondo fire

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ondo State headquarters has lost 5,141 Smart Card Readers in a fire that engulfed a container it is housing.

The INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye who confirmed the incident Thursday night said that the inferno started at about 7.30 p.m. The cause of the inferno was not immediately known.

Okoye who was in Akure for some INEC preparations for the state governorship election scheduled for October 10, however, said that the inferno would not affect the conduct of the state election as needed card readers would be mopped up from other states not conducting elections.

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“The fire Service men are still battling to put it out and we are confident that it would soon be put out.

“This is just one state election. What we are going to do is to mop up smart card readers from other states and use them for the conduct of the election while investigating what happened.

“The cost of 5,141 smart card readers is so much, but we are not going to dwell on that now.

“What we are going to dwell on is to mop up smart card readers from other states that are not conducting elections and use them to conduct Ondo governorship election.

“We will dwell on other issues regarding the configuration of the cards readers.”

It will be recalled that 4,695 smart card readers were destroyed by fire that razed its facilities at INEC headquarters in Awka, Anambra in February 2019 barely four days to the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

There was also similar incident in 2019 at the INEC office in Plateau State and Abia State where its facilities including card readers were destroyed by fire, but the commission was able to handle the situations without disrupting the electoral process as planned.