The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has started erecting a new building at Onyedega, the Ibaji Local Government Area headquarters in Kogi State.
This is coming after SaharaReporters in January 2021 reported that INEC abandoned voters’ cards and other sensitive materials in its dilapidated office in Onyedega.
A source in the area on Wednesday confirmed that INEC had returned to the site and was rebuilding the structure.
“We can confirm that INEC has started a new building at the local government headquarters in Ibaji,” the source, who is resident in the area, said.
SaharaReporters had reported that the INEC's office in Onyedega, the headquarters of the Ibaji LGA was abandoned and overgrown with weeds due to a flood incident.
SaharaReporters had learnt that the INEC Onyedega office in Ibaji LGA was last used for the election of a former state governor, Ibrahim Idris, between 2003 and 2007.
Residents had told SaharaReporters during a visit to the creaky, bushy INEC structure that instead of the commission to rebuild the office after the flood, the authorities abandoned it and opted for a rented private building in a neighbouring area – a situation which made the people smell a rat.
SaharaReporters had observed that election materials and people's old voter cards were abandoned inside the building and were already rotting away during the visit.
A resident, Johnson Ajogwu, had said although the voter cards and election materials might be out of use, it was wrong for INEC to abandon them in the structure and start using a private facility.
"The INEC office was flooded around 2011 and 2012, and that was it. The commission left the LGA headquarters and moved to a private apartment in a neighbouring area. They did not clear the building. They even abandoned election materials and people's voter cards in the structure," he had said.