The Independent National Electoral Commission, on Friday, announced the suspension of voter registration outside the state and local government offices in Imo State.

The decision came barely about 15 hours after a similar action in the Ihitte Uboma Local Government Area of the state following a report by its Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof Emeka Ezeonu, on the killing of an INEC staff member involved in the continuous voter registration, Anthony Nwokorie, by gunmen.

The INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, made the announcement in a statement issued in Abuja.

He said, “Further to the unfortunate incident in Imo State in which our staff member was killed by gunmen in the Ihitte Uboma Local Government Area yesterday (Thursday), the commission has decided to suspend the ongoing continuous voter registration 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 Ezeonu, of threats to our staff members involved in the exercise in the Ehime Mbano Local Government Area.

“Earlier, the commission had restricted the exercise to our offices in the Oru East, Oru West, Orlu and Ohaji-Egbema local government areas.

“Meanwhile, the commission has now established contact with two of our staff members who went missing after yesterday (Thursday’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 member is put in harm’s way, while working with the security agencies and community leaders to protect them and facilitate their work.”

Meanwhile, the Indigenous People of Biafra has condemned the attack on the INEC office and also denied involvement in the attack.

In a statement on Friday, the Media and Publicity Secretary, IPOB, Emma Powerful, blamed enemies of Biafra for the attack, which he said was carried out to demonise the group.

Powerful said the perpetrators were sponsored by unfortunate politicians in an attempt to jeopardise the freedom struggle.

He warned those behind such attacks to desist from doing so, because IPOB would not allow them to continue to terrorise the people.

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Source: Imo killing: Two missing employees safe, says INEC

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