The Independent National Electoral Commission has established contact with two of its missing staff in Imo State following the disruption of the Continuous Voter Registration exercise by gunmen on Thursday.
An INEC staff, Mr. Nwokorie Anthony, was shot dead at Nkwo Ihitte (PU 004) in Amakohia Ward (RA 02) of Ihitte Uboma Local Government Area of the state.
As such, the commission, according to its National Electoral Commissioner for information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, resolved to suspend the CVR exercise in the affected LGA and some other areas in the state.
Okoye confirmed the development on Friday in a statement titled ‘Suspension of voter registration outside the state and local government offices in Imo State’.
“The Commission has decided to suspend the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration exercise in all the 54 additional centres created to facilitate the registration of voters across the State,” Okoye said in a statement.
He continued, “Further to the unfortunate incident in Imo State in which our staff was killed by gunmen in Ihitte Uboma Local Government Area yesterday, the Commission has decided to suspend the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration exercise in all the 54 additional centres created to facilitate the registration of voters across the State.
“The exercise will now be confined to our State and Local Government Area offices except in Orsu, Njaba and Ihitte Uboma where it is suspended indefinitely.
“This decision follows a further report from the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Francis C. Ezeonu, of threats to our staff involved in the exercise in Ehime Mbano Local Government Area. Earlier, the Commission had restricted the exercise to our offices in Oru East, Oru West, Orlu and Ohaji-Egbema Local Government Areas.
“Meanwhile, the Commission has now established contact with two of our staff missing after yesterday’s attack in Ihitte Uboma. They are safe and will soon be reunited with their families.
“The safety of staff remains a primary concern to the Commission. We will continue to ensure that no staff is put in harm’s way while working with the security agencies and community leaders to protect them and facilitate their work.”