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Flood ravages INEC office; documents, card readers affected

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A massive flooding that hit Edo State on Saturday sacked thousands from their homes and caused millions of naira in damages to properties.

Amongst the worst affected places was the Edo State headquarters of Independent National Electoral Commission in Benin City, the state capital.

A section of the building’s perimeter fencing collapsed after two hours of heavy downpour, pushing in muddy waters that inundated vehicles, files, computers and card reading machines.

But the card readers have started functioning after being exposed to air and no crucial registration data were lost, the state’s INEC chief said.

The registration data were not affected because officials had forwarded those that had been concluded to the national headquarters in Abuja, while ongoing collations were being backed up or shared with registration points at local government level.

“Remember we had completed the first quarter of continuous voter registration in July and the information had been backed up as well as shared with INEC HQ in Abuja,” Mr Obo Effanga, Edo State resident electoral commissioner said Sunday.

“The current CVR information are shared daily between the registration points in the LGAs and the state headquarters and a comprehensive data compiled and shared at the end of each week.”

“These information are safe,” he added.

Effanga, while noting that the damage could have been more had it happened on a weekday, said the flood had receded significantly and the premises had become “fairly accessible” as at Sunday evening.

Despite the incident, essential activities did not stop, and staff have been urged to report for work Monday, Effanga said.

We will “do an assessment of what is lost in each unit and make arrangements for any remedial actions,” he added.

The Saturday flooding capped a week of torrential downpour that ravaged several communities in the state as part of the annual rainy season.

The rain started on Monday in Etsako Central Local Government Area, about 180 kilometres northeast of Benin City, leaving thousands homeless.

Governor Godwin Obaseki appealed to residents to stay away from areas prone to flooding and assured them of a palliative package being put in place by his administration.

Edo State has experienced heavy flooding consistently since the state began experiencing its annual rainfall at the end of February.

In July, the federal government released N1.6 billion in financial support to Edo and 15 other states that were devastated by severe weather. 
The money was drawn from the ecological fund, the government said.

Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMet, predicted that the state would experience extended rainfall well beyond October 4, when most states are expected to have cessation.


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