No fewer than 100 corps members trained as electoral officers and assistant presiding officers in three Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Imo State have withdrawn their participation in Saturday’s general elections.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Imo State, Sylvia Agu told the media in Owerri on Thursday that the corps members cited insecurity as reason for their withdrawal.
The REC said: “This morning, I received information that all the corps members we trained to work in Okigwe, Orlu and Orsu LGAs have been withdrawn.
“They say they cannot go to volatile areas, which according to them, ‘are terrorists’ areas’.
“I have called the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to appeal to them but I was told the scheme has even withdrawn all corps members serving in the three local government areas so as not to risk their lives”.
Agu explained that the corps members withdrew their participation following the commission’s decision to revert to polling units as against the use of stadia in the volatile areas.
She said the commission had earlier faced security challenges in Okigwe, Orlu, Njaba, Orsu, Iheme/Mbano, Oru West and Oru East LGAs during the collection of the Permanent Voter Cards.
“Because of the problems, we had quite a low turn-out for the collection in Okigwe axis and so, stakeholders in the area resolved to collapse five registration areas to Okigwe stadium. It worked well and was so impressive. They held another meeting and suggested they should come there to vote, but I asked them to put it in writing. I reported same to our headquarters. When Orlu heard what Okigwe did, they came to me but I told them to get back to their people and were equally asked to write officially which they did”, she said.
Meanwhile, the 34 Artillery Brigade of the Nigerian Army in Obinze, Imo State has approved additional hotlines for Operation Safe Conduct for the general election.
A statement by the Brigade’s spokesperson, Joseph Akubo on Thursday in Owerri stated that the additional hotlines were to ensure more access to the public.
According to him, the hotlines are specifically for the monitoring and reporting of security breaches, illegalities and suspicious acts, violence by any individual or group during the election in the state.
The hotlines are: 09150691051; 09150691041; 09150691034; 09150691039.