The Centre for Citizens with Disability, CCD, says inadequate facilities are hindering participation of People With Disabilities, PWDs in the ongoing Continuous Voters Registration, CVR, exercise by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The INEC, in line with provisions of the Electoral Act, commenced nationwide Continuous Voters Registration on April, 27, 2017, which aims at capturing data of persons who were unable to register during the last voters registration exercise and that of individuals that have attained the age of 18 and those who registered but did not collect the Permanent Voter Card before the 2015 polls.
The CCD, as part of its commitment to ensuring fair representation of people with disabilities in governance, monitored the exercise in the 20 local government areas of Lagos state where it identified lack of adequate provision of facilities to allow access for such persons to be part of the exercise.
Highlighting its findings at a media interaction, David Anyaele, executive director of the CCD, said the exercise was designed to ensure an all inclusive electoral process and to ensure that no eligible voter is left out of the process and that it is important for stakeholders to prove institutional support to INEC in order to ensure success of the exercise.
Anyaele noted that CCD’s core objectives of protecting, promoting and safeguarding the rights of persons with disabilities and monitoring the formulation and implementation of policies that impact on or are of public interest are relevant to persons with disabilities were the drivers for performing the task.
From the data collected by the Centre showed that there were insufficient measures in place to meet the need of PWDs in the ongoing CVR exercise.
The executive director said INEC should understand that the needs of PWDs vary because Sign Language Interpreters should be deployed to various registration centers.
“Also capturing of data should be carried out based on disability type. Sufficient rest rooms should be provided in line with the need of PWDs and the public. Accessibility to the various locations is everything to PWDs, if INEC cannot provide ramps, lifts and other mobility devices that can ease the movement of PWDs at least attendants should be deployed at various centres to help PWDs” Anyaele stressed.
He said the Centre observed that some of the centres were situated outside INEC offices at the local government areas which hinder some PWDs and even persons without disabilities from going for the CVR exercise when they are redirected to the designated centres at INEC office.
“Hence there is a need for adequate sensitization on the exact location of the centres to save individuals the trouble of going to wrong CVR centres. From the data, we also deduced that the participation of PWDs in the ongoing exercise is quite low and we believe that when adequate measures are put in place for PWDs, they will turn out in their numbers to participate” he added.