The Heal Disability Initiative, an NGO, has advocated for braille ballot papers to enable visually impaired citizens participate in the 2023 general elections.
Mr Mainas Ayuba, the NGO’s Executive Director, made the call in an interview with the mews men in Bauchi on Tuesday.
“We are advocating for production of ballot papers in favour of the visually impaired to enable them vote for candidates of their choice.
“This will be better than relying on someone to lead the visually impaired in the process,” he said.
Ayuba said that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should ensure friendly user facilities during the election.
He noted that sensitisation on voter education had started in earnest to ensure that eligible voters participate in the election process.
He also said that meetings were held with Community Based Organisations (CBOs) that worked with People With Disabilities (PWDs) on voter education in 2022.
“We conducted a meeting with CBOs to ensure that eligible voters collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
“We are working on vote buying to protect their civil rights,” the executive director said.
Meanwhile, Mrs Naomi Yusuf, INEC’s Gender Officer in the state, said that adhoc staff would be trained on the use of assisted devices ahead of the 2023 general election.
She said the device would support people living with disability during the election process.
Yusuf said the commission had identified six clusters amongst the PWDs including the Physical, Albinism, Speech, Hearing, visually impaired and leprosy.
She added that special consideration would be given to PWDs during election day.
“Special priority will be given to PWDs on election day such as separate queues.
“In 2019, Random Access Memory (RAM) was constructed in polling units; but those without RAM staff will come down to the level of the PWDs for accreditation for easy access,” she explained.
Yusuf said that INEC had also made a three-day provision in its office to conduct a Continuous Voter Registration for PWDs to ensure they register.
By Amina Ahmed, edited by Chinyere Bassey/Muhammad Suleiman Tola.