2023 elections

March 19, 2023

Polls: TAF Africa decries inadequate provision of assistive tools for PWDs

…commends turnout of PWDs

By Gabriel Ewepu

AS Nigerians go to the polls today (Saturday), an election observer TAF Africa, decried inadequate provision of assistive tools for Persons With Disabilities, PWDs, at most polling units across the country including violence.

The Chairman, Board of Trustees, BoT, TAF Africa, Prof Vin Anigbogu, read the ‘Mid-day Situational Report on the Participation if Persons With Disabilities in the Ongoing Gubernatorial and State Assembly Elections’, where TAF Africa’s observers made their findings known during a media briefing at the Persons With Disabilities Election Hub.

According to TAF Africa, PWDs were also victims of violence and other infractions recorded during the elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and pointed that these issues affected PWDs who came out in great numbers to exercise their franchise.

The report reads in part, “TAF Africa observed the inadequate deployment of assistive tools at the polling units.

“From the observed polling units, 75% had no braille
ballot guides for the visually impaired, 87% had no magnifying glasses for persons with Albinism and 63% had no large font graphic posters for the deaf.

“Persons With Disabilities Election Hub received a critical report of extreme violence from field observers.

“In Rivers State, Emohua local government area, Ogbakiri ward, Rumuada town hall polling unit,
gunshots from thugs dispersed voters and INEC officials at the commencement of polls, leaving many voters injured.

“So far, no registered voter at the said polling unit has been able to exercise their civic rights due to the gunshots resulting in the absence of INEC officials.”

However, TAF Africa made some recommendations which include, INEC’s investigation of inadequate deployment of assistive tools to polling units with registered persons with disabilities; and security agencies should protect PWDs.

Meanwhile, TAF Africa commended the community of persons with disabilities for their show of strength and with disabilities who have not voted to go to their registered polling unit to exercise their civic commitment toward this election, despite the unfavorable conditions.