*Voter registry Department damaged
By JOSEPH ERUNKE, EMMANUEL ELEBEKE & JOHNBOSCO AGBAKWURU
ABUJA - Fire razed a section of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC’s headquarters in Abuja, Monday, causing pandemonium around the Maitama area of the Federal Capital Territory, as staff of the commission ran to different directions for safety.
The incident came barely 18 months after a similar one occurred in the office of the commission’s chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, causing destruction on the visitors’ room as well as some computer sections.
Vanguard gathered that the fire which started in the Voter Registry Department of the Commission may have been caused by electrical fault.
But unlike the previous one, the latest fire did not cause much damage as the men of the Federal Fire Service and the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, were on hand to contend the situation.
The fire which lasted for about 30 minutes was said to have started at about 9:00 am in the morning and ended around 9:30am.
Speaking to Journalists at the scene of the incident, the Director of Information Communication Technology, ICT, of the commission, Engineer Chidi Nwafor, no vital document of the commission was affected.
Nwafor said, “There was a fire incident this morning. Between 9:12am to 9:30am we started perceiving odour like a burnt odour, so what we did was to look for the place. It was in the department they call voter registry.
“Most of us that were around that time had to use the normal fire extinguisher to try to stop the fire and at the same time we called the fire service and the fire service came, when the fire service came the NEMA came, as I am talking to you now the fire has been quenched so no more fire now. It was only one office that was affected,” he stated.
The ICT Director, who said that only office equipment was damaged, however said that the cause of the fire outbreak was yet to be established and that preliminary investigations were ongoing to unravel the cause.