The Office of the Director, Elections and Party Monitoring Department (EPM) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was on Friday gutted by a mid-day fire.The INEC’s Director of publicity and voter education, Mr. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, disclosed that the office where the fire outbreak occurred was close to the Media Centre of the commission and that it has been contained by the fire service department of the commission.He, however said that apart from photocopies of documents, computers, photocopy machines and other office equipment, no sensitive or confidential materials and documents were affected in the fire incident.We gathered that the fire which started around 11am was put out by a combined team of fire service department of the commission, officers from the Federal Fire Service and the FCT Fire Service; and those of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).Also speaking, the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Mr. Festus Okoye, said the incident was regrettable.He however blamed the incident on electric surge which affected some electrical appliances.“Some of our critical staff are in the office and noticed that fire had started from the office of the Director of Election and Party Monitoring. They rushed off and alerted the fire service but our own internal firemen had responded before the arrival of the Federal Fire Service and they were able to put off the fire.“It started around 11am or 11.30am and you could see that it did not get to the main building of the headquarters. We lost some of our photocopiers and computers and documents relating to political party activities but they are mostly correspondences and constitution and manifestos and files relating to political parties.“The critical documents relating to our activities with the political parties were not affected because they have been moved out even before the incident. There is no cause for alarm,” he assured,” Okoye said.On his part, the Controller in charge of Abuja Command of the fire service, Raima Maomon, said that the commission invited them in the morning for an assistant.Maomon said, “Before we got here, our men that are on ground had started fighting the fire and we joined to quickly bring the situation under control. We had deployed six fire trucks as well as an ambulance but good enough no casualty was recorded. I can tell you that the level of damage is so minimal and small.“However, by the time you take it at the roof level, you will be thinking that the situation is so grievous, but it was because of the PVC used for the ceiling. I can confirm to you that the level of damage is so small. The firemen were able to respond on time here to ensure that they save the situation otherwise the whole of the complex would have been razed down.”Mr. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, later said the commission is working on a formal statement which will be issued soon.
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