Nigeria: People With Disabilities Launch Charter For Full Inclusion In Electoral Processes

By Longtong Ibrahim

People with Disabilities (PWDs) in Nigeria have officially launched the PWDs charter, demanding for a level playing ground from government, political parties, as well as both the national and state electoral bodies to fully participate in electoral processes of the country.

Some of their demands are that INEC should employ qualified PWDs and saddle them with responsibility of ensuring their participation in political process from election preparatory process, election observers and mobilizing of PWDs to participate in elections.

They also demanded that INEC and political parties should develop clear and simplified voting guidelines for PWDs made into brail for the visually impaired, audios for the blind and television based signs and language for the deaf.

While presenting a paper during the PWDs forum/Launching of the charter organized by League of Democratic women (LEADs Nigeria) in collaboration with Action aid in Kaduna on Tuesday, Executive Director of Action Aid, Mr. Emmanuel Bonet pointed out that, though Nigeria is signatory to key international documents on human rights, discrimination against PWDs still persist, stressing that, the ways in which elections are implemented across the country shows that PWDs are not being considered as equal citizens.

He noted that, the charter was built on a consensus arrived at broad spectrum of stakeholders at various workshops across the six geo political zones of the country.

Other recommendations made by the group is that INEC should ensure that polling units are visible and accessible to all and also ensure that the names of all registered PWD are verified on the voters registers and printed bold for easy identification during elections.

“Political parties should include all PWDs clusters in their campaign and activities.

“Workshop should be organized regularly to enlighten government, political parties and relevant stakeholders on strategies for integrating PWDs into election process of Nigeria

“INEC should ensure that all categories of PWDs are always contacted for their contributions before changing of political processes are effected before and during elections

“INEC should provide for the nature of disability on the voter registration cards of PWDS

“Political Parties should ensure that PWDs are appointed into their administrative structures and offer opportunities to contest and be voted for on their platforms

“INEC should convene workshop for a review of the electoral provisions to further respond to the needs of PWDs when the needs arise.

They however called on government, organizations and other individuals to treat them with respect and ensure that their disabilities do not restrict their full participation in the society.

Earlier in his goodwill message, the Public affairs and information officer of Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission (KAD-SIECOM), Andrew A. Nkom commended LEADs-Nigeria for its effort in providing guidance towards active participation in the electoral process, saying it is a welcome development that is in line with the Commission’s drive towards deepening democracy in Kaduna state and Nigeria.

“The commission is desirous to work with all organizations on the democratic process towards good governance, which is based on the quality of persons who get elected into positions of responsibility,” he said.

According to the 2006 National population census, about 3.2 million PWDs are qualified voters in Nigeria.

Posted by on 21/09/2017. Filed under Elections, News, Rights. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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