Home Disability News PLAC seeks improved access to inclusive elections for PWDs

PLAC seeks improved access to inclusive elections for PWDs

by Inclusive News Network

By Grace Dallas, Abuja (INN reporter)

Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) has called for improved access to inclusive election for voters with disabilities in Nigeria

The call was made on Wednesday in a roundtable with support from MacArthur Foundation.

The Executive Director of PLAC Mr. Clement Nwankwo in his remarks emphasized on the need to include persons with disabilities (PWDs) in election processes. He said democracy can only be enjoyed when it meets the need of it’s people.

According to him, “the INEC was able to identify the problems or rather the challenges PWDs face during elections and respond to those issues by providing accessible voting materials such as braille for the Blind, magnifying glasses for persons with Albinism, EC40H and EC30E for data capturing of PWDs that cast their votes and they also ensured some polling units are accessable for persons with physical disabilities.”

INN reports that due to the passion MacArthur Foundation has for disability inclusion, PLAC partners with them to join force in tackling the issues of voters with disabilities.

Nwankwo also urged PWDs to create more awareness to ensure PWDs issues are addressed.

Director of Gender and Inclusion, INEC, Mrs. Bello Lakunga Dorathy, said, she has deep concern for inclusion of PWDs in the elections ranging from pre, during and after elections, she assured that the INEC will ensure full inclusion of PWDs in election processes in no distance time.

Amina Salihu, Deputy Director, MacArthur Foundation on her goodwill message stressed the need for women participation in the elections.

Out of 469 lawmakers at the National Assembly, there are less than 20 women and that is not encouraging. So we should encourage and support more women from the six (6) geopolitical zones to contest elections. She also spoke on people with leprosy and their challenges during data capturing (thumb printing), she said digital electronics are upgrading every day, with the new upgrade the leprosy can be captured in the upcoming elections.

She also urged the INEC to always make accessible voting materials available in subsequent elections whether PWDs come out to vote or not.

“Let people know that the materials are always there because it will encourage those PWDs that always participate in the voting and that will make them encourage others too to come out to vote.”

Mr. Aliyu Abdullahi, National President, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) said, INEC recorded 85,000 PWDs as eligible voters in the 2023 general elections while in just Kebbi State alone, PWDs have the same number. He asked why will the whole Nigeria have only 85,000 voters with disabilities? He said it’s probably INEC did not start gathering it’s data for a long period of time but just decided to make use of this figure (85,000) in a year to the elections which is not right.

He believes that if PWDs’ real data will be captured indefinitely their mandate will be given to them as well by President Tinubu. He appealed for accuracy when giving data of PWDs in Nigeria.

Highlights of the event was the presentation of report of observation on accessibility to polling unit and utilization of relevant forms ( EC30E & EC40H) in the 2023 elections by Executive Director of Inclusive Friends Association, Miss Grace Jerry.

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