Kogi Supplementary Polls: INEC insists burnt office won’t stop election in Dekina

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Kogi election

The early morning fire that razed the Dekina office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Dekina, Kogi State yesterday will not hinder today’s governorship supplementary election in the state.

This declaration was made yesterday by the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Alhaji Halilu Pai.

Unknown persons suspected to be hoodlums had invaded Dekina, the headquarters of Dekina Local Government Area where about 29 of the 91 polling units where the supplementary election is scheduled to hold is located, and set the INEC area office in the town ablaze.

But Pai said in a statement in Lokoja yesterday that only some non-sensitive materials kept in the office were affected while the sensitive ones, such as card readers, were intact.

He said the commission had made arrangements for the replacement of the non-sensitive materials that were destroyed before today’s supplementary election in the area.

He explained that a temporary office had been provided at a police station for the smooth conduct of the election in the polling units where election was cancelled in the area.

According to eyewitness accounts, suspected thugs invaded the office at about 5 am and set it ablaze.

One of the accounts said the suspected thugs came in a bus and shot sporadically before burning down the office.

A statement issued from the office of Kogi State Deputy Governor, Chief Yomi Awoniyi, in Lokoja yesterday said preliminary investigation had revealed that some persons dressed in police uniform were responsible for the act.

He described the action as “barbaric, callous and uncalled for.”

Awoniyi assured that everything would be done to arrest those behind the arson and bring them to justice.

While calling for calm, the deputy governor assured INEC of adequate protection in the discharge their duties in the state.

The statement added that the governor had convened an emergency security council meeting aimed at conducting investigation that would unravel the immediate and remote causes of the incident and prevent a reoccurrence.

The statement reads: “Preliminary investigation reveals that some persons dressed in police uniform visited the INEC office Dekina in the early hours of today (Friday), demanding for all materials relating to the supplementary election.

“The INEC officials at the Dekina office found their request unusual and declined. The arsonists proceeded to set the office ablaze.

“All efforts by firemen to put off the fire which raged for hours was thwarted by the arsonists who kept vigil as they prevented access to the premises.”

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