5,141 card readers meant for the Ondo governorship election were destroyed in a fire at the Akure office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday, September 10, 2020.

The fire gutted a large container housing smart card readers late on Thursday before fire fighters could do anything about it, arriving nearly two hours after the outbreak started.

Chairman of INEC's Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said the destruction of the card readers will not affect the election, scheduled for October 10.

"It is unfortunate that we lost so many card readers but the incident would not in any way affect the conduct of the election.

"So, we are confident that this election will go on as scheduled," he said.

Chairman of INEC's Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, says preparations for the October 10 Ondo governorship election remain on track despite the damage caused by the fire [Daily Trust]
Chairman of INEC's Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, says preparations for the October 10 Ondo governorship election remain on track despite the damage caused by the fire [Daily Trust]

INEC suffered a series of similarly questionable fire incidents that destroyed election materials ahead of the general elections last year.

A section of the building housing the Election and Party Monitoring Department, and the Media Centre at the commission's head office in Abuja was also gutted by fire in April 2020, but did not cause any substantial damage.

Okoye said on Thursday night the cause of the fire in Akure, Ondo State capital, will be thoroughly investigated.

Law enforcement officers were also drafted to the scene to beef up security.