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Why gunmen attacked INEC Voters’ Registration center in Imo State; Kill staff, two others missing

Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman

The gunmen who reportedly killed a staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ihitte Uboma Local Government Area (LGA) of Imo State on Thursday have said they attacked the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) center as a warning to all those who are participating in the exercise and in any other processes leading to the 2023 elections to stop forthwith.

In a viral video showing the attack, the gunmen said they did not want elections, that they are fighting for the people to have their freedom and that next time, they would set the place ablaze if the people continued with the exercise.

Sporadic gunshots were heard and the gunmen, with their weapons in full view could be seen ransacking the center and scattering the voters’ cards that were apparently being given out to those who were being registered at the time of the attack.

Those who were caught in the midst of the storm, men, women and children, all lay flat on their stomachs petrified, while the gunmen carried out their operation.

Meanwhile, INEC has announced the immediate suspension of the CVR exercise in the LGA as a result of the attack.

A statement, same Thursday, April 14, 2022, by Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, said the suspension followed a report by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Imo state, Professor Emeka Ezeonu, to the effect that “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,” Okoye said.

Full text of the INEC statement reads:

CONTINUOUS VOTER REGISTRATION: ATTACK ON OFFICIALS IN IMO STATE

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.

Festus Okoye Esq.
National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee.
Thursday 14th April 2022

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One comment

  1. This act is barbaric and condemnable. We should struggle for Igbo presidency through voting. Illegal violence can only aggravate our struggles. The perpetrators of this act should be arrested and made to face the full wrath of the law.

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