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PWDs demand sign language interpreters at polling units

The Executive Director of Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), Mr. David Anyaele, has called for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State.

They made the demand in Abuja at a “public presentation on the 2020 Ondo State with the theme: ‘An Assessment of INEC’s Preparation for Persons with Disabilities.’”

Anyaele also urged INEC to encourage hearing impaired (deaf) voters to come with personal sign language interpreters to the polling unit to minimize the communication gap. He asked INEC to ensure strict compliance with health protocols, including the re-design of the polling unit layout, and take adequate measures to ensure that polling stations are accessible for physically-impaired voters.

He explained: “INEC should make prioritization of PWDs’ access to voting mandatory, not advisory. Section 56(2) of the INEC Electoral (Amendment) Act, 2010 states that ‘The commission may take reasonable steps to ensure that voters with disabilities are assisted at the polling stations by the provision of suitable means of communication such as Braille, large embossed print or electronic devices or sign language interpretation, or off-site voting in appropriate cases.”
’Make election materials available and accessible as well as the facilities for all PWDs. This includes Form EC40H, polling units, and assistive resources such as sign language interpreters, signage posters, tactile ballot jackets, magnifying lenses, and disability-friendly polling stations.’

Anyaele further urged the electoral umpire to; “Train INEC ad-hoc officials adequately to understand and respond to PWDs’ needs. Sensitize the public on the needs and challenges of PWDs to reverse negative public perceptions and attitudes towards them. Collaborate with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), security agencies, and other stakeholders to fully implement health and safety protocols during voting and result collation.

“INEC should collaborate with the security agencies to brace up for security challenges, ensure they carry out proper investigation before stopping anyone wearing facemask with political logos or moving with a bike or taxi on election day to avoid the brutality of PWDs as well as to ensure an inclusive, credible, free, fair and peaceful election. INEC should consider introducing a secured mobile voting system and make the transfer of voting locations possible.”

AS the electorate in Ondo State prepares for Saturday’s election, a media group within the All Progressives Congress in Oyo state, Communication and Strategy Frontier (CSF), has called all stakeholders to uphold peace.

In a statement issued in Ibadan and made available to the press by its Director-General, Mr. Wale Olanrewaju, and Director of Organization, Alhaji Olawale Sadare, Oyo APC-CSF faulted desperate moves by politicians to truncate the desire of the people of Ondo to have a peaceful and hitch-free election on Saturday.

Source: The Guardian

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