The Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission of putting into cognisance the challenge faced by its members in terms of accessing polling units.
This it said was in spite of the provision of Section 54(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 which provided that electoral barriers against persons with disabilities and other vulnerable persons should be addressed. It noted that its members faced diverse challenges which in some cases led to unintended disenfranchisement.
In an interview with journalists, the national president of the organisation, Abdullahi Usman, said other voters, security officials and electoral officers had limited understanding of the priority that should be accorded persons with disabilities.
He stated, “From JONAPWD’s citizens’ observers’ deployed across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory during the February 25 election.
“It was discovered that the use of INEC form EC40H to capture data of persons with disabilities before accreditation commenced was not mentioned. Another is the unmentioned and hidden publication of the INEC EC.30E poster to guide voters with hearing impairment on how to vote at a polling unit.
He lamented that many of the voting areas were not accessible to PwDs.
He urged the commission to put in place measures to address the constraint PwDs faced at the last exercise ahead of the governorship and state assembly elections scheduled for March 11.