The Police in Abia State has confirmed the burning down of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, office in Isiala-Ngwa South Local Government Area of Abia.
The State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Geoffrey Ogbonna confirmed the incident to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Aba on Sunday.
He added that the fire occurred on Saturday night.
He said that information available to the police showed that “the fire started from the toilet and extended to the office, where the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) were stored.”
The police spokesman added that “some of the PVCs were already destroyed before the fire was eventually put out on Sunday morning.”
He said that the number of damaged PVCs had yet to be ascertained.
Ogbonna, who spoke from the scene of the fire, said that the command had commenced investigation to ascertain the cause of the fire.
Speaking further, the Head of Public Affairs of the Commission in Abia, Mr Bamidele Oyetunji, said that police had taken over the investigation of the incident.
Oyetunji said that the police were in a better position to find the perpetrators of the dastardly act and that the commission was not suspecting any politician or its member of staff.
Some residents of the area told NAN on condition of anonymity that the fire might have started in the night but was only noticed on Sunday morning.
It was further learnt that the number of burnt PVCs might not be less than 10,000, considering the heap of the items.
NAN reports that a similar fire razed down the Obingwa LGA INEC office in 2015, after a governorship election petition tribunal in Umuhia gave an order for the forensic inspection of the votes for the governorship poll in the area.