Home2023 GENERAL ELECTIONS2023 POLLS: Deaf Persons Seek Special Sensitisation Programme On Processes

2023 POLLS: Deaf Persons Seek Special Sensitisation Programme On Processes

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Deaf Women Aloud Initiative Executive Director Hellen Beyioku-Alase.

Calling out the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for what they termed the electoral umpire’s seeming indifference to their plight, deaf persons in the Nigerian Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, have urged INEC to conduct special enlightenment programme to educate them on the 2023 General Elections.

So far, according to them, there has been no programme to educate deaf persons on the electoral processes, especially the newly introduced ones, by INEC for the forthcoming elections.

The deaf persons expressed their concerns on Thursday during a sensitisation programme for deaf women on Voter Education and Mapping in Kuje Area Council of the FCT.

The Executive Director, Deaf Women Aloud Initiative (DWAI), Mrs. Hellen Beyioku-Alase, said the situation may likely disenfranchise some of the deaf people, if not addressed.

“We want government through INEC to include the deaf in the election exercise, to vote and be vote for.

“The programme on voter education is to enlighten many girls and women who do not have access to vote because of communication barrier.

“There are no interpreters; there are new processes introduced by INEC to be used to vote, but, because of less information and interest to educate the deaf, many of them are reluctant to go out and vote.

“We have over 30 million deaf people and only a few vote; we decided to organise this on our own to sensitise them on the voting processes,” she said.

According to her, INEC has so far shown low level of concern on the matter.

Beyioku-Alase, who is also the President, Deaf Women Association, said that the deaf needed to exercise their civic responsibilities as citizens.

She also called on security agencies to protect deaf people during the elections, as they needed to be guided from harm.

Also, Senior Programmes Officer, YIAGA Africa, Anthonia Onda, who made a presentation on voter education, said that the deaf needed information on what to do and how to go about it during the elections.

“We urge INEC to get sign interpreters to ensure they are carried along,” she added.

She told the deaf people that they could vote, be voted for and act as agents for various parties.

Programme Officer, YIAGA, Mr. Shama Balami, educated the participants on the use of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).

A participant, Godiya Akun said that, with the sensitisation, she was no longer afraid to go out and vote.

She appealed to INEC to keep to its promises to ensure people with disabilities were given attention during the elections.

Also, a Counsellor, Mrs. Enuiyin Bose, thanked the association for the enlightenment, especially on how people with disabilities would be carried along.

The programme was organised in collaboration with Abiodun Essiet Initiative For Girls, with support from the United States (US) Embassy.

It was aimed at “promoting the participation of deaf girls and women in the ongoing political processes”.

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