-Commission suspends further registration
-Fear grips electorate,politicans ahead of 2023
There was pandemonium yesterday as gunmen numbering over 12 attacked some adhoc and regular staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in Nkwo Ihitte market, Ihite Uboma,Imo State.
It was learnt that INEC Adhoc Staff were registering members of the community for the 2023 general elections when the gunmen invaded the place.
It was gathered that INEC officer in charge of the registration process , Mr Anthony Nwokorie who was only last year November employed by the commission and posted to oversea activities of Adhoc staff at the place was shot dead by the unknown gunmen who made video of their operation as long as it lasted.
Confirming the attack, an eyewitness, Chief Okpegbuo, said: “We had all gathered in the village square in obedience to the directive that we should come out en masse to register.
Not long we queued, the Gunmen came in, shot sporadically, hoarded many into a room with a threat to kill them while others scampered for safety.”
As of the time of filing this report total number of death is unclear.
The development is a dangerous dimension to the insecurity in Imo.Imo state for some months now have had many security breaches which has drastically affected the ease of doing business in Imo.
Some of the electorate who spoke to this reporter maintain that if nothing is done urgently before general election, many people would prefer to throw away their PVCs instead participating in exercise and get killed.
They called on governor Hope Uzodinma to embrace diplomacy as a tool to tackling insecurity in Imo.
Effort to reach the Public relation officer, PPRO of Imo state police command, Mr Mike Abattam was unsuccessful as he didn’t take his call from our reporter.
Reacting to the development, INEC through it’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee ,Festus Okoye Esq condemned the attack and subsequently suspends further registration in the area
The release read,”The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended the Continuous Voter Registration Exercise (CVR) exercise in Ihitte Uboma Local Government Area of Imo State.
“This is sequel to a report by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Professor Emeka Ezeonu, to the effect that today, 14th of April 2022, Mr. Nwokorie Anthony, a staff of the Imo State office of the Commission involved in the ongoing CVR exercise, was shot dead by unknown gunmen at Nkwo Ihitte (PU 004) in Amakohia Ward (RA 02) of Ihitte Uboma Local Government Area. The REC further reported that the State Office is making efforts to locate the whereabouts of the two remaining staff involved in the registration exercise.
“Prior to this incident, the Commission had suspended the CVR in Orsu and Njaba Local Government areas of the State on account of insecurity while the exercise is taking place only at the INEC LGA office in Oru East, Oru West, Orlu and Ohaji – Egbema Local Government Areas of the State.
“The Commission extends its condolences to the family of Nwokorie Anthony and prays that God will grant them the fortitude to bear the loss. The incident has been reported to security agencies to unravel the circumstances that led to this unfortunate incident and bring the culprits to justice.
“We enjoin the President General of the various Town Unions in Imo State as well as all the critical stakeholders to protect staff of the Commission engaged in national assignment. The safety and security of staff is of paramount importance to the Commission, particularly with the devolution of the voter registration exercise beyond our State and Local Government Area offices nation in our determination to serve Nigerians better”.