By Angela Atabo
The Albino Foundation Africa (TAF Africa) has appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission( INEC) to fulfil its promise to the community of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) by adequately deploying assistive tools in the March 11 elections.
Founder ,Chief Executive Officer, TAF Africa Jake Epelle, made the call on Tuesday in the Post Election statement on the participation of PWDs in the presidential and national assembly elections.
Epelle said that the call was imperative to address the lapses noted in the participation of PWDs in the Feb. 25 elections .
He said that the deployment would help the confidence of the disability community in the electoral process which was marred by the unsatisfactory delivery of the elections.
He said that TAF Africa in the bid to achieve increased participation of PWDs in elections as well as establishing if the election is free ,fair and credible established the TAF Africa PWD Election Hub.
“TAF Africa deployed 700 observers and launched its Election Hub for analysis, review and assessment of key issues capable of undermining the active participation of PWDs in the elections.
“INEC was expected to provide 21,165 magnifying glasses at 16,071 Polling units for persons with albinism and minor visual impairment.
“INEC was also supposed to provide 6,167 posters at 5,085 PUs for those with hearing impairment, and 8,117 braille ballot guides at 5,957 PUs for the visually impaired.
“PWDs are supposed to enjoy priority voting ,which is their legal rights as contained in Section 54,sub section 1 and 2 of the electoral act.
“Unfortunately, these expectations were not totally met and it successfully frustrated the participation of PWDs in the elections.
Epelle said that the process was flawed by violence ,lateness of poling officials and the communication gap by INEC .
He said that for instance ,in the FCT ,Gwarinpa ward, Karon-Majigi disable community polling unit ,PWDs were not given priority voting which discouraged their participation.
“Kubwa village ,Kofar Sarki and Deidei primary school in Kubwa ward, Bwari Area Council are expected to have at least six and 13 registered visually impaired persons.
“As such at least one braile ballot guide should be provided at these Polling units ,but on the contrary, large font posters for the deaf were the only assistive devices made available.
“Similarly, persons with albinism registered at Games village, Garki,Saburi and Gwagwa wards ,all in the Abuja Municipal Area Council were not provided with magnifying glasses. “
Epelle said TAF Africa called on INEC to provide details on how assistive tools were deployed to various polling units bearing in mind the various clusters of disabilities and their peculiar needs.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Isaac Aregbesola