A group, the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities calls for Equal Voting Access for Persons with Disabilities.
The Group in a statement to Leadership Weekend said “it is the expectation of Nigerians with disabilities that INEC will eliminate all barriers that hinder persons with disabilities from participating in the electoral process in this year’s elections”
“Over the years, citizens with disabilities have been engaging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure Equal Voting Access for Persons with Disabilities. This is because what constitute access to electoral process to one may not be the same to the other”
The statement signed by Executive Director, CCD David O. Anyaele alleged that observations from INEC activities so far on persons with disabilities suggest that INEC is only focusing on the blind voters at the expense of persons with different forms of disabilities.
“This General Elections is an opportunity for INEC to demonstrate that no one should be left behind in the electoral process by reason of their disability”
He said “Recognizing that measure adopted in previous elections conducted by the Independent Electoral Commission in previous elections had not been satisfactory to Persons with Disabilities. Issues such as lack of sign language Interpreters for the deaf at polling units, Absence of Braille Materials for the blind, inaccessible venues with lots of mobility barriers have continued to hinder the effective participation of Persons with Disabilities participation during elections in the country. These are some of the issues CCD’s observers will be looking out to understand measures adopted to address them”.
He noted that “The coming into force of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2019 has reinforced the need the need to eliminate all forms of discrimination against persons with disabilities in the electoral process and ensure that persons with disabilities participate in the electoral process on equal bases with others”.
Anyaele noted that the CCD had been accredited by INEC and will be deploying persons with disabilities as election observers in Abuja FCT, Lagos, Abia, Gombe, Rivers, Enugu, Plateau and Kano States.
“The deployment of PWD Observers is part of the campaign for Equal Voting Access for Persons with Disabilities” he said
The Group further called on all eligible citizens with disabilities to come out to cast their votes as their votes will determine the kind of future they desire living with disability. it will equally influence the quality of life they desire for their families and caregivers.
The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) is the foremost not-for-profit making organization of, and for persons with disabilities that works to disability rights, independent living, inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in development efforts in Nigeria.