Third person from L – R is the Executive Director Inclusive Friends Association, Ms Grace Jerry during the press briefing. Photo: Julian Osamoto/Radio Nigeria
About 250 Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) observers have been deployed to complement the assistive devices provided by INEC, to ensure inclusivity of PWDs during the elections.
The Executive Director of the organisation and Convener, of the Inclusive Friends Association, Ms Grace Jerry, stated this while briefing journalists in Abuja at its first pre-election conference on Friday.
Ms Jerry, said the organisation through its campaigns carried out its first-ever polling unit assessment for better understanding of the challenges faced by the PWDs on election-day and to verify evidence-based report on the representative data collected.
She said in compliance with the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018, and the Electoral Act 2022 (amended), the electoral commission commit efforts to provide assisted materials for PWDs to ensure inclusive voting process during the 2023 general election.
“According to the commission’s report, 21,165 magnifying glasses will be provided for persons with albinism and low vision, 8,117 Braille ballots for blind voters who are able to read braille; and 6,167 EC30E PWD posters (a pictorial election instruction for deaf voters and other electorates).
“The vote-Ability is a disability rights movement led by Inclusive Friends Association (IFA) for Nigeria’s 30 million persons with disabilities (PWDs)”. she said
The IFA Executive Directory explained that 2023 General Elections will be the first General Election for PDWs since the signing of the 2022 Electoral Act which birthed the provision mandating the INEC to provide PWDs with aid that provides their vote without any form of barriers, hence this election become historic.
She called on INEC to fully enforce its policy of priority voting for PWDs to enhance their ability to vote, rather than standing too long on ques as witnessed in previous elections.
MS Jerry urged the security agencies to ensure optimal protection to all voters and election observers, especially those with disabilities.
Reporting by Julian Osamoto; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino