The Independent National Electoral Commission on Friday confirmed that it had established contact with two of its missing staff after the gunmen attack in Imo State on Thursday.
This is as the body also announced the extension of voter registration suspension to other areas in the state after an official of the commission was killed by gunmen in Ihitte Uboma Local Government Area on Thursday.
Confirming the development on Friday, INEC Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said the electoral body had suspended registration in 54 additional registration centres in the 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.
The statement was titled ‘Suspension of voter registration outside the state and local government offices in Imo State’.
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 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.”