Nigerian electoral body, INEC establishes disability units nationwide
London, Jan. 22, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Nigeria’s national electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has established disability desks at its offices nationwide to ensure inclusiveness in the electoral process.
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Lagos State, Sam Olumekun, made this known in Lagos on Tuesday during a one-day strategy meeting on Capturing Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Nigeria.
Olumekun who noted that accurate data was a crucial tool for adequate planning, called on critical stakeholders to strategise on the capturing of dis aggregated data of persons with disabilities across Nigeria.
“We need comprehensive policies to support the needs of those with disabilities. The United Nations believes that there is need to promote the right and well-being of persons with disabilities.
“It is in the light of the foregoing that the commission is committed to ensuring inclusiveness in the electoral process in the country and has taken giant strides in this regard.
“Some of the activities include establishing a disability desk at the national headquarters, all state offices, as well as the Federal Capital Territory Abuja,” he said.
According to him, INEC will formulate persons with disabilities policy to ensure the provision of required devices to assist them during elections.
Also, Dr Adekunle Ogunmola, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Outreach and Partnership Committee, said that, in practice, it was often difficult for persons with disabilities to exercise their rights in Nigeria
Ogunmola added that the commission was focused on providing a level playing field for all stakeholders in the delivery of credible elections.
“In spite of all the innovations put in place so far, it has become obvious that inclusive election cannot be achieved without the accurate data of PWDs disaggregated by type.
“The unavailability of disaggregated data of PWDs in the country limits the commission’s plan for inclusive and effective participation of PWDs in the electoral process.
“Data on the size, location, type and gender of PWDs is needed to provide the required services effectively and data on the literacy level amongst PWDs is also needed,” he said
The National Commissioner noted that the purpose of the meeting was to provide opportunity to make input and adopt format to be used to disaggregate data of PWDs in the register of voters.
INEC Deputy Director, Civil Society Organizations Division, Mrs Lakunya Bello, said that exclusion of certain groups from decision making created divide and resulted in a less peaceful society.
Bello noted that ensuring that persons with disabilities played active roles in the political and public life of their societies contributed to strengthening respect for their rights.