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HomeNEWS2023 Elections: IFA calls on INEC, NPF to Improve Inclusivity, Security of...

2023 Elections: IFA calls on INEC, NPF to Improve Inclusivity, Security of PWDs

A non-governmental organisation, the Inclusive Friends Association (IFA), which deals with issues on the protection of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to develop a special protocol that will enable the protection of voters and observers with disabilities during elections.

The executive director of IFA as well as the Convener of the IFA Vote-Ability Campaign, Miss Grace Jerry who made the call on Thursday, in a post Presidential/ National Assembly Press briefing, organized by the IFA in Abuja reiterated that if polling units are not safe and secured, PWDs will be put at the forefront of any disaster or violence arising from unwanted elements who would want to take advantage of the system.

Miss Jerry who commended INEC for ensuring that there is an increased as well as robust improvement in PWD political participation, also said that beyond the participation of PWDs, in last Saturday’s presidential/ national assembly elections, they were also seen to serve as party agents and observers. She said the observation mission of IFA saw the engagement of PWDs by INEC to serve as ad hoc staff and reiterated that the move satisfies her organisation’s demand while also meeting the requirements of section 29 of the Discrimination against PWDs Act 2018.

While revealing that the 2023 presidential elections came with a lot of challenges especially in the aspect of adequate provision of assistive materials for PWDs, Miss Jerry also said that the exercise was an improvement as compared to the 2019 general election. She called on INEC to continue to gather data on PWDs in a disaggregated format to improve the deployment of assistive materials during elections.

She urged the INEC “to ensure that overpopulated polling units (PU) are decongested for ease of implementing priority voting for PWDs in subsequent elections. INEC should ensure timely and effective deployment of PWDs assistive materials such as; the Braille ballot guide, form EC30E PWD, and magnifying glass for all national and state election. They should train ad-hoc staff to effectively administer assistive election day materials and accommodation for voters with disabilities”.

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