The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that a total number of 5,987 uncollected permanent voters' cards (PVC) were lost in the fire that destroyed the commission's office in Qua'an Pan local government area of Plateau State.
When the incident happened on Saturday, February 9, 2019, the commission announced that a drunk security man was responsible for the outbreak which burnt PVCs, ballot boxes, generators and other valuable materials for the February 16 elections.
According to a statement signed by INEC's National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, 360 voting cubicles, 755 ballot boxes, 14 generators, election forms and officials stamps were also lost in the fire.
He disclosed that the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Plateau State has been directed to open a register for all those in the affected LGAs who approach the commission to collect their PVCs within the specified period.
"The commission will print the PVCs and make them available for collection in good time before the elections," he said.
Okoye also noted that the Qua'an incident is the second of such in less than a week after INEC's office in Isiala Ngwa LGA in Abia State also witnessed a fire incident on Saturday, February 2. He said the PVCs that were lost in that incident have been reprinted and delivered for distribution to the affected voters.
He also revealed that all the burnt materials in Abia and Plateau will be replaced before the elections, with temporary arrangements already made for the relocation of the burnt offices.
He also said the two fire incidents did not affect the Smart Card Readers that are presently being configured in the respective state offices.
Okoye disclosed that the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) has been notified about the trend of its offices being set on fire and requested additional security measures to enhance security around INEC offices and other critical structures of the commission.
All security agencies have also been requested to arrest and prosecute individuals or groups involved in the attacks on the affected offices.
"The commission wishes to assure all Nigerians that it will not succumb to the antics of arsonists whose motive might be to create fear in the minds of voters and sabotage the conduct of the 2019 general elections," he said.
2019 general elections
The 2019 general elections will kick off with the Presidential and National Assembly elections on February 16 while Governorship and State Assembly elections will take place on March 2.
A total of 84,004,084 are registered to vote in the elections.