Inec office in Qua’an Pan Local Government Area of Plateau State burnt to the ground

FEARS of increased violence ahead of next Saturday's presidential elections grew yesterday after the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) office in Qua’an Pan Local Government Area of Plateau State was engulfed by fire.


In what some commentators are suggesting is possibly arson, the office was burnt to the ground in an incident said to have been caused by a drunken security man. Osaretin Imahiyereobo, the head of Inec's Plateau State department of voter and education and publicity, described the incident as a setback for the preparations for the general elections in the local government area.


Mr Imahiyereobo said: “The Inec office is completely burnt with all its content i.e. ballot boxes, generators serviced and filled with fuel, cubicles, newly printed electronic and manual voters registers, uncollected permanent voters cards (PVCs), materials for the preparations of registration area centres and other materials yet to be identified. Our management team led by the administrative secretary, Gbadamasi Rasheed are on their way to assess the situation.”


Last Saturday, Inec's office in Umu-Ikaa, in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area of Abia State was also burnt to the ground. Police spokesman Geoffrey Ogbonna, said that in that case, suspected hoodlums had poured fuel through the window of the office where the PVCs were kept and set fire to them.


With presidential polls due to hold on February 16 and governorship elections due on march 2, the political temperature in Nigeria is very high at the moment. Opposition parties have accused the ruling All Progressives Congress of planning to rig the polls with distorting voter figures and disenfranchising voters in opposition areas.