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just in: INEC suspends operations over coronavirus

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced suspension of its regular activities over the outbreak of coronavirus.

Festus Okoye, chairman, INEC information and voter education committee, announced this in a statement on Monday.

He, however, said the suspension does not affect the activities for Edo and Ondo governorship elections scheduled to hold in September and October respectively.

He said the commission is suspending all “regular and non-essential” activities in its headquarters and offices nationwide for 14 days “in the first instance.”

“The regular quarterly meetings with Stakeholders, namely: Political Parties, Civil Society Organisations, the Media, Security Agencies and all other meetings, have been suspended until such a time when normalcy returns,” the statement read.

“In addition, the Commission will no longer monitor the conventions, congresses, conferences or meetings of political parties until further notice.

“The Commission reiterates its commitment to openness, consultation and continued communication with its stakeholders and expects all to understand the emergency situation that informed the suspension of contact engagements.

“The health and well-being of all our staff, officials and the general public are of paramount importance to us.”

Okoye said the notwithstanding the suspension of the activities, INEC will continue to meet via non-physical contact channels “while communication between the Commission and its stakeholders will remain open.”

The commission had earlier postponed the the four senatorial bye-elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Plateau states over the pandemic.

As of Monday morning, Nigeria has 36 confirmed cases of the virus with one death.

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