by Sunday Isuwa,
A Civil Society Organisation (CSOs) Inclusive Friends Association (IFA) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make elections more inclusive for the People With Disabilities (PWDs).
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the 2023 Governorship and State House of Assembly Elections, the executive director, IFA and convener, Access Nigeria Campaign, Grace Jerry, said they deployed 250 observers in the last election, adding that people living with disabilities were not provided the necessary facilities to enable them vote despite the fact that a lot of them came out for the exercise.
“We deployed 250 observers in the last election and the report was not satisfactory,” Grace said.
“The election day poster was deployed reasonably but it did not go round. The general feedback didn’t show that the preparations and plans by INEC chairman for people living with disability to vote was not satisfactory. People living with disabilities came out en masse to vote but they did not see their materials to use,” Grace said.
According to her, despite making up 15% of Nigeria’s population, and the provision of the Electoral Act mandating INEC to provide PWD election assistive materials, Nigerians with disabilities in previous elections including the just concluded February 25 elections had documented barriers at various stages such as polling units not always accessible to voters with physical impairments, absence of ramps and handrails for use by PWDs, inadequate deployment of Form EC30E PWDs for deaf voters, braille ballot guide for blind voters and magnifying glasses for persons with albinism and low vision, and general polling unit layout which makes it difficult for PWDs with physical impairment.