The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Igboeze-South local government Area of Enugu State was on Sunday gutted by fire.Mr Romanus Ezekwueme, the Chief Security Officer (CSO) of the local government confirmed the incident to newsmen on Monday.According to him, “I was on duty with some neighborhood security around 11 pm on Sunday when we saw the flame coming out from INEC office and immediately rushed to the scene.
“We broke the gate of INEC office because it was locked, only to see that fire has started from the store room in INEC building.“We immediately made a distress call to Nsukka and Udenu fire service who came and helped us to quench the fire,” he said.
“It is only the store in INEC building that was completely razed down by fire,” he said.
Reacting to the incident, Mr Andy Omeje, the Chairman of Igboeze-South LG also confirmed the fire incident and thanked the fire but said only the store in INEC office was affected.
“We thank the fire service for their intervention that prevented the fire from spreading to other rooms in the building.“When I was called last night that INEC building was on fire, I rushed to the Local Government secretariat where the building is located, I was there till the fire was quenched before I left,” he said.
The LG boss however, expressed concern that INEC officials had continued to deny security men access to the compound at night by locking up the gate.“This is to know when hoodlums strike so that they can work together.
“Last night, when the fire incident started, it was difficult for neighborhood security to gain access to INEC compound; they have to force the gate open in order to help to stop the fire,” he said.Meanwhile, Mrs Lorretta Uroko, the INEC Electoral Officer in Igboeze-South LG confirmed the incident but declined to make further comment.
“I will not comment on this issue until I get permission from my Resident Electoral Commissioner in the headquarters in Enugu,” she said.Also when contacted, Mr Okwudili Ohaa the Enugu State Chief Fire Officer confirmed the incident and said the service got the distress call around 11pm on Sunday and rushed to the scene.Ohaa said the firemen were able to stop the fire from spreading to other rooms in the INEC office.“It is only the store room that burnt completely,”
he said.He said the cause of the fire was yet unknown but advised residents to always have fire extinguisher in their homes and offices as well as switched off electrical appliances when they were not around.Efforts to reach the Police Public Relations Officer in Enugu, Mr Daniel Ndukwe failed as he did not pick calls from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).NAN recalled that, INEC office in Obollo-Afor, Udenu LGA was razed down on May 13 and on May 16, INEC headquarters in Enugu was attacked while vehicles and part of the building were razed. (NAN)