Security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission have assured Persons with Disability of safety during the forthcoming election.
This was made known during the launch of The Albino Foundation Africa Election App at an Inter-Security Agencies training workshop on disability inclusive elections security funded by the European Union.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said that the PWDs are a major democratic demography and have strong electoral strength, adding that ensuring the right of PWDs to vote and be voted for is one of the most visible gains in our thriving democracy.
Represented by the National Commissioner-in-charge of Southwest, INEC, Prof. Kunle Ajayi, said the Commission understands that PWDs face several obstacles around key processes within the electoral and political process which tend to subtract their contributions towards development of the electoral and political landscape.
“In the unfortunate incidence or occurrence of electoral violence, threat or intimidation, the PWDs are unfortunately the most vulnerable groups that may be most adversely affected. Hence, most of them shy away from the polls to safeguard themselves, which not only leads to voter apathy but significantly disenfranchises them. Hence, the important need for electoral security.
Speaking at the event, the Commissioner of Police in charge of election affairs, Basil Idegwu, said that the personnel of the Police Force will avail PWDs maximum security as they go to cast their ballots.
Idegwu said “In 2021, a PWD desk was established in all Zonal and state offices across the federation.
“The current security situation in various parts of the country constitutes a security threat to the 2023 general election.
“It requires a robust strategy to deal with, while we work with the PWDs in ensuring that their safety is prioritised.”
The Chief Executive Officer, TAF, Jake Epelle, said insecurity is primarily responsible for voter apathy, hence the need for security personnel to tell voters on election day.
According to the Foundation, the dashboard contains the data of eligible PWDs who would be voting in the 2023 elections, adding that it would guide the INEC where to deploy resources on election day