Imo attack: INEC confirms staff safety, promises to reunite them with families

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From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has confirmed the safety of two of its staff declared missing after the attack and killing at the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) at Ihitte Uboma, Imo State, promising to reunite them with their families as soon as possible.

INEC announced the good news in a statement signed by the National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, on Friday.

Assuring that the safety of its staff remains its priority, the Commission equally promised to do everything possible to ensure none of them is exposed to risk.

‘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,’ the Commission assured in the statement

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Giving an update on the suspension of the exercise, the Commission also disclosed that it has also extended the suspension to 54 additional centres in the state.

Titled suspension of Voter registration outside the state and local government offices in Imo, the statement read: “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 CVR exercise in all the 54 additional centres created to facilitate the registration of voters across the state.

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‘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,’ the statement read.