A CSO, Inclusive Friends Association (IFA), has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to increase the number of staffers and security agents at its Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) collection centres.
Executive Director of IFA,Grace Jerry ,made the call on Wednesday in Abuja in the group’s ‘vote-ability statement on the distribution and collection of PVCs’.
Jerry said the call was necessitated by the need to meet the growing turnout of citizens to the centres only 44 days to the general ellections
She said IFA also called for the increase of the number of security personnel deployed to the collection centres for adequate crowd control.
Jerry said there was need to sustain the priority collection of PVCs for the Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) across all the collection centers.
She urged INEC to ensure that unprinted PVCs were printed to avert disenfranchising some of the citizens from participating in the elections.
Jerry said that IFA officially inaugurated its ‘VOTE-ABILITY’ campaign on Sept. 27,2022 to advocate inclusion of PWDs in elections .
This, she said, was by engaging all election stakeholders at various levels to be accountable for their statutory responsibilities.
According to her, the campaign seeks to engage stakeholders such as the electoral umpire INEC , security agencies, political parties, media, citizens, and a concentration on the community of PWDs.
“In fulfilment of the campaign’s objectives, it deployed PWDs to serve as mobilisers and observers across the country.
“It also increased the campaign on the need for PWDs and other vulnerable groups such as women and youth in the ongoing PVC nationwide distribution by INEC.
“The VOTE-ABILITY campaign has mobilised PWDs in Abuja, Kano, and Osun and also provided transportation to ease the movement and economic stress for the PWDs.
“Across the states where VOTE-ABILITY deployed its champions, the following was observed:
“There was a huge turnout of citizens for the collection of PVCs and it was discovered that some citizens could not get their PVCs as they were unprinted.”
Jerry said that the group also observed low number of the commission’s staffers attending to the crowd as the number of personnel was low for the crowd who came for their PVCs.
She said that low knowledge of citizens in understanding the provisions of priority collection was also noticed .
Jerry said that the VOTE-ABILITY campaign commended INEC for demonstrating inclusivity by providing and implementing priority collection for PWDs.
She said that the campaign further encouraged citizens to take advantage of the ward-level distribution to get their PVCs.
Jerry said that IFA acknowledged the efforts of other partners on the ‘Sixty Per cent of Us, YES, DEAN Initiative, TASCK’, and other stakeholders in ensuring that the electoral system was accessible to PWDs.
She added that IFA also appreciated the funding support from Yiaga Africa and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) for making the ‘VOTE-ABILITY’ campaign a reality.