By Okechukwu Onuegbu and O’star Eze
Two container loads of configured smartcard reader machines and other sensitive materials meant for deployment on Saturday for the 2019 general elections were consumed by a mystery fire at the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Awka, Anambra state on Tuesday.
Orient Daily gathered that the blaze, the source or cause of which remained a mystery as at time of this report, started around 2:15pm. It consumed the two containers located inside the heavily guarded facility before the arrival of officials of the Anambra State Fire Service around 2:40pm at the scene.
A source at the INEC headquarters confided in this paper that, few minutes after the first fire which consumed empty cartons close to the container in which the INEC smartcard readers were packed was put off, there was an alarm of another fire that started in the container containing the smartcard readers.
An eyewitness who was at the INEC headquarters for collection of posting letters as SPOS at the time of the incident, recalled: “The fire started at a portion and was put off only to escalate and quickly spread to other areas. We were sent outside when the fire escalated as billows of smoke were everywhere. We were told to park outside and also take our belongings in case the fire spread to the entire buildings.