The European Union (EU) and the Albino Foundation (TAF) Africa have sustained the call for the conduct of an all inclusive election prioritising Persons With Disabilities (PWDs).
Mr Jake Epelle, Founder, Chief Executive Officer, TAF, made the call at its Africa’s Election Activities and Intervention briefing in Abuja .
Epelle said that central to the expectations of the elections was the outcry for a better inclusion of Nigeria’s population of PWDs.
He said the election presented Nigerians and the community of PWDs with the opportunity to fully participate .
“INEC for the first time will deploy well over 20,000 magnifying glasses, braille ballot papers for the blind and also there are posters for our community of persons who are deaf.
“We are glad to mention that there will be priority voting and it is mandated by the Electoral Act, Section 54 (1,2) that when a person with disability is at the polling unit, he or she should be given the first right of vote.
“We are glad to say that INEC Chairman, a few days ago, publicly pronounced that wherever PWDs require some form of access and if the ballot paper is placed where they don’t have access to, it should be brought down to where they can vote.
“That is a welcome development and we applaud INEC for that,” Epelle said
He thanked TAF’s founding partner, EU for investing its biggest resources as it concerned disability and inclusiveness.
“We believe that the EU is investing when it comes to this election to ensure that it is truly inclusive,” Epelle said
He called on the community of PWDs to go out and exercise their franchise without fear of insecurity.
Epelle also called on the electorate to vote PWDs candidates across board .
The Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, James Christoff, commended TAF Africa for championing the cause of PWDs, and assured continued support to it .
Ms Samuela Isopi, Ambassador of the European Union to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), reiterated EU’s support for inclusivity.
Isopi promised to work together with TAF on inclusivity and give more support.(NAN)