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INEC, APC, PDP shut operations nationwide over Covid-19

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As Nigeria grapples with the deadly Coronavirus, several democratic institutions in the country have been forced to shut down operations to curtail the spread of the killer-virus.

Among these institutions include, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); political parties, All Progressive Congress (APC); People Democratic Party (PDP) and Social Democratic Party (SDP).

INEC, has said that all regular and non-essential activities will be suspended in its headquarters and offices nationwide for 14 days in the first instance.

The suspension is to take effect from Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

In a statement issued by the National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Publicity Committee, Festus Okoye, the Commission said the suspension order is 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), to protect staff, visitors, and the general public.

The Commission said the regular quarterly meetings with 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 further noted that the Commission will no longer monitor the conventions, congresses, conferences or meetings of political parties until further notice.

It, however, restated its commitment to openness, consultation, and continued communication with its stakeholders and expects to understand the emergency situation that informed the suspension of contact engagements.

INEC, however, emphasied that the new measures taken do not affect the activities for Edo and Ondo governorship elections scheduled for September 19 and October 10, 2020, respectively.

Similarly, National chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, on Monday, announced the closure of the party national secretariat.

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While addressing the workers, Comrade Oshiomhole said the national working committee took the decision to protect its workers from the contagious ailment, coronavirus.

He said the closure, which would be for two weeks, could be extended.

Announcing the shutdown of its party secretariats, the PDP via its official handle, @OfficialPDPNig tweeted: Sequel to the earlier decision of our party, the @OfficialPDPNig, to shut down activities at our secretariats and offices across the country, the party has further resolved to suspend all activities bordering on congresses, rallies and other large gatherings of members of our party across the federation, with effect from Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

“This decision has become imperative in respect to the need for continuous social distancing and other health safety measures against the spread of COVID-19 in our country.

The @OfficialPDPNig enjoins the Federal Government to continue to review situations as they concern the fight against the spread of COVID-19 and take measures, even if stringent, to safeguard lives.”

Alo, Social Democratic Party (SDP), on Monday, directed all its offices to close down immediately for preventive measures.

This was contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja by Amb. Rufus Aiyenigba, the Chief of Staff to the National Chairman of the Party, Prof Tunde Adeniran.

The statement indicated that the closure order would be in force till April 14, this year in the first instance.

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