By Diana Omueza
Abuja – Center for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), a non-governmental organisation, has raised concern on the absence of a disability law and the non adoption and domestication of the National Disability Act 2018.
Mr David Anyaele, the Executive Director of the group, said this in a statement on Friday in Abuja.
Anyaele said that the group was worried that Edo had remained among others who had yet to adopt and domesticate the National Disability Act’ making them most vulnerable to all negative vices
He, however, urged the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure equal voting access for all voters, especially Person’s with Disabilities (PWDs) in Edo governorship election slated for Sept. 19.
“INEC has assured us that it would ensure PWDs are provided with, priority voting, signage poster on election process at polling units, access for personal sign language interpreters for deaf voters, and accessible polling units among other provisions.
“But we are worried that Edo is one of the states that has yet to adopt the National Disability Act, hence it remains one of the most hostile states against PWDs.
“However, we urge INEC to live up to its words by implementing the framework on access and participation of PWDs in the electoral process by ensuring equal access at polling units.
“Also, priority voting for PWDs, and mobilisation of volunteer sign language interpreters to assist the deaf, and support the blind voters,” he said.
He appealed to INEC to implement the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018, in particular section 1, 3, 26 and 30 which provides for the removal of all forms of barriers against PWDs participation in electoral processes.
Anyaele also urged INEC to ensure that its ad hoc staff at polling units captures voters with disabilities using form EC40H and also to gather vital data of PWDs for future election planning.
He said that the organisation has trained and deployed its observers for the election to the three senatorial district in the state.
He called for collaboration among inter-agency consultative committee on election security to minimise all forms of electoral violence.
“We are concerned that security issue has been a matter of serious concern to the residence of the state and especially to PWDs, hence any mismanagement of security may jeopardise voter turn out for PWDs,” he said.
He appealed to PWDs not to lose faith in the electoral process, but to come out to cast their votes for the candidates of their choice in the off-cycle election.
He also appealed to PWDs to ensure to observe all necessary COVI-19 protocols for their on safety and wellness.