By Abiodun Lawal
Abeokuta, – The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Abeokuta South local government area of Ogun, located at Iyana Mortuary area of the state capital was gutted by fire in the early hours of Thursday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that the facility was allegedly set on fire by suspected hoodlums who scaled the perimeter fencing into the commission’s premises.
The hoodlums, numbering about eight, were said to have soaked loaves of bread with petrol and threw same into the building from different points to light up the facility.
A source, who pleaded anonymity, said the security guard on duty, Azeez Hamzat, made a distress call to the police around 1:00a.m., that the facility was on fire.
It was learnt that the police from Ibara division mobilised detectives to the scene, while contacting fire fighters, who raced to the scene to put out the fire.
It was further gathered that the store, the Registration Area Officer’s office and the conference room were affected by the inferno.
The source added that non-sensitive materials were also affected by the fire.
“No life was lost and no injury was sustained in the fire,” the source said.
Reacting to the incident, the State INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Niyi Ijalaye, described the incident as shocking.
“It is correct that our office may have been deliberately torched. The police are investigating the matter. I do not know what to say. I’m in shock myself.
” We called the police and other security agencies at night. The fire brigade put the situation under control. The level of damage is still being assessed.
“It is very shocking and untoward. The security agencies are doing their very best. We are meeting again later today to come up with other strategies toward securing our facilities,” Ijalaye said.
When contacted, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Abimbola Oyeyemi, said he would find out about the incident before making any statement
He said that he just learnt of the occurence and would find out from the Divisional Police Officer of the division.(NAN)