The Independent National Electoral Commission says it has established disability desks at its offices nationwide to ensure inclusiveness in the electoral process.
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Lagos State, Sam Olumekun, made this known in Lagos on Tuesday during a one-day Strategy Meeting on Capturing Persons with Disabilities in Nigeria.
Olumekun noted that accurate data was a crucial tool for adequate planning and called on critical stakeholders to strategise on the capturing of dis-aggregated data of persons with disabilities across Nigeria.
He said: “We need comprehensive policies to support the needs of those with disabilities. The United Nations believes that there is need to promote the right and wellbeing of persons with disabilities.
“It is in the light of the foregoing that the commission is committed to ensure inclusiveness in the electoral process in the country and has taken giant strides in this regard.
“Some of the activities include establishing a disability desk at the national headquarters, all state offices, as well as the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.”
According to Olumekun, INEC will formulate persons with disabilities policy providing various assistive devices during elections.
Also, Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Outreach and Partnership Committee, said in practice, it was often difficult for persons with disabilities to exercise their rights.
He said INEC also recognised that all citizens, including men, women, youths and persons with disabilities, held the key to the enthronement of the will of the people in any democracy.
Ogunmola added that the commission was focused on providing a level playing field for all stakeholders in the delivery of credible elections.
He said: “In spite of all the innovations put in place so far, it has become obvious that inclusive election cannot be achieved without the accurate data of PWDs disaggregated by type.
“The unavailability of disaggregated data of PWDs in the country limits the commission’s plan for inclusive and effective participation of PWDs in the electoral process.
“Data on the size, location, type and gender of PWDs is needed to provide the required services effectively and data on the literacy level amongst PWDs is also needed.”