The Heal Disability Initiative, an NGO, has advocated for braille ballot papers to enable blind persons to participate in the 2023 general elections.
Mainas Ayuba, the NGO’s Executive Director, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Bauchi on Tuesday.
“We are advocating for production of ballot papers in favour of the visually impaired to enable them vote for candidates of their choice.
“This will be better than relying on someone to lead the visually impaired in the process,” he said.
Mr Ayuba said that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, should ensure friendly user facilities during the election.
He noted that sensitisation on voter education had started in earnest to ensure that eligible voters participate in the election process.
He also said that meetings were held with Community Based Organisations, CBO, that worked with People With Disabilities, PWD on voter education in 2022.
“We conducted a meeting with CBOs to ensure that eligible voters collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
“We are working on vote buying to protect their civil rights,” the executive director said.
Meanwhile, Naomi Yusuf, INEC’s Gender Officer in the state, said that all ad-hoc staff would be trained on the use of assisted devices ahead of the 2023 general election.
She said that the device would support people with disability during the election process.
Mrs Yusuf further said that the commission had identified six clusters amongst the PWD.
According to her, the clusters include the Physical, Albinism, the Deaf and the Blind as well as leprosy.
She added that special consideration would be given to PWDs during election day.
“Special priority will be given to PWDs on election day such as separate queues.
“In 2019, Random Access Memory (RAM) was constructed in polling units; but those without RAM staff will come down to the level of the PWDs for accreditation for easy access,” she explained.
Mrs Yusuf said that INEC had also made a three-day provision in its office to conduct a Continuous Voter Registration for PWDs to ensure they register.