ELECTIONS: Albino Foundation Declares Braille Ballot, Magnifying Glasses Deployment For PWDs Inadequate

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Who we are – The Albino Foundation

The Albino Foundation (TAF-Africa) on Saturday lamented that braille ballot guide for visually-impaired voters were unavailable in 75 per cent of the polling units nationwide for Nigeria’s March 18, 2023, Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections.

The Board Chair, TAF Africa, Professor Vincent Anigbogu, expressed the Foundation’s worries over the inadequate deployment of assistive tools at the polling units.

Anigbogu said that 87 per cent polling units had no magnifying glasses for people living with disabilities (PWDs) with Albinism and 63 per cent had no large font graphic posters for the deaf.

He said that TAF Africa’s observation of the elections showed prompt arrival of officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the commencement of polls.

There were, however, according to him, shortage of election material in some areas.

He added that TAF Africa observers reported the accessibility of the polling units at 94 per cent of the polling units, while priority voting was observed in 76 per cent of the units.

“Given the emerging issues, TAF Africa’s PWDs Election Hub makes the following recommendations: that INEC should investigate the reason for the inadequate deployment of assistive tools to polling units with registered PWDs which can disenfranchise them.

“INEC should ensure prompt response to the issues raised at the polling units, particularly the shortage of election materials in some polling units.

“Security agencies are reminded of their primary responsibilities to the citizens of Nigeria.

“We expect security agencies to be present at all the polls and ensure the safety of everyone with competence, professionalism and neutrality, especially the violent-prone ones,” Anigbogu said.

The TAF Africa Board Chair commended the community of PWDs for their show of strength and commitment towards the election in spite of the unfavourable conditions.

He harped on the need for security agencies, INEC, political parties and their ardent supporters, as well as other stakeholders to work together in ensuring that the elections were credible and peaceful.

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