INEC Offices In Imo, Anambra Razed By Fire… Sensitive Materials Feared Destroyed

The office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) located in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State was Sunday, around 12:30pm, gutted by fire. THE WHISTLER gathered that the fire started from a nearby bush, and destroyed much of the facilities in the building before it was put out by men of the state fire service and volunteers.

This comes as thugs were said to have also attacked an INEC office in Orlu, Imo State, on Monday morning.

Confirming the incident in Anambra, the spokesman of the state’s Police Command, Mr. Haruna Mohammed, attributed the incident to carelessness of the locals who set fire on a nearby bush without checkmating the excesses. According to him, “At about 12:30pm on Sunday, there was a fire incident at INEC office, Ogidi, in Idemili North LGA. A police patrol team led by DPO Ogidi Division rushed to the scene, and the Fire Service Department was contacted. The fire allegedly emanated from bush burning. However, the extent of damages done is yet to be determined. Consequently, the state commissioner of police, Mr. John B. Abang, has ordered a discreet investigation to ascertain circumstances surrounding the incident.”

Mohammed also said there was another fire incident in Onitsha on Sunday which injured about seven persons. According to him, the fire emanated from a faulty gas cylinder which exploded in a residential building.

Meanwhile, the INEC office in Orlu, Imo State, was this morning burnt down completely by fire. According to an eye witness, Paul Nwachukwu, the fire started at about 5am Monday, and consumed the entire building.

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Nwachukwu told THE WHISTLER that, “A call came to me around N5:40am, informing about the fire. I contacted men of the state fire service immediately. I also went to witness what was happening. I only met two policemen outside the entrance. I also saw the DPO of the zone inside the premises watching the last bit of the fire as it raged. I made some efforts alongside few other persons to snap or record the scene, but we were prevented by the DPO and his team. I was told that the fire was from a bush that was burnt early this morning. Surprisingly, there was no other property affected by the fire except the INEC office; not event the school compound sharing boundaries with the INEC office. I believe that this fire started inside the INEC building.”

Efforts are being made to get the police version on this report.

In another development, about 150 shops with property worth millions of naira were yesterday destroyed by fire at Kpirikpiri Market, in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State. The market is the second largest in the state after Abakpa market. The fire started around 2pm.

The commissioner for Internal Security and Border Peace, Mr. Stanley Okoro Emegha, and the special assistant to the governor on Internal Security (South), Mr. Chika Nwangel, during the inspection of the scene, regretted that fire service authorities were not informed about the fire, hence the level of destruction.

“The fire was a spillover from a nearby bush,” Mr. Emehga said, and commended the quick intervention of the neighbourhood watch and youths in the area, which curtailed the damage.

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