The electoral commission, INEC, says all regular and non-essential activities will henceforth be suspended for 14 days in its headquarters and offices across the country because of COVID-19.
Festus Okoye, a spokesperson for the commission, in a statement, on Monday, said the measures were taken in order to protect its staff, visitors and the general public as confirmed cases of coronavirus hit 36 and one death in Nigeria.
According to the statement, the regular quarterly meetings with stakeholders, monitoring of conventions, conferences or meetings of political parties are suspended until further notice.
The commission had last week postponed scheduled bye-elections in Plateau, Bayelsa and Imo state.
It explained that the postponement of the bye-elections became necessary because of the “health emergency occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic”.
INEC noted that the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo, scheduled for September and October this year respectively, are, however, not affected by the postponement.
Read the full INEC statement below
SUSPENSION OF REGULAR ACTIVITIES
In view of the Coronavirus Pandemic and the preventive and containment measures put in place by the Federal and State Governments and in line with the advisory on social distancing from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has taken the following additional measures to protect its staff, visitors and the general public:
1. Effective from Tuesday 24th March 2020, all regular and non-essential activities will be suspended in its headquarters and offices nation-wide for 14 days in the first instance.
2. 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.
3. 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 wellbeing of all our staff, officials and the general public are of paramount importance to us.
Notwithstanding the measures outlined above, the Commission will continue to meet via non-physical contact channels while communication between the Commission and its stakeholders will remain open.
For emphasis, the new measures taken do not affect the activities for Edo and Ondo governorship elections scheduled for 19th September and 10th October 2020 respectively.
We will continue to keep the public abreast of developments as they concern our electoral process.