Ahead of the November 6, 2021 governorship election in Anambra State, Persons with Disabilities under the umbrella of the Joint National Association of Persons With Disabilities (JONAPWD), has raised concern over the threatening insecurity in Anambra State, noting that they may not participate in voting process if adequate security is not guaranteed for them.
Comrade Ogochukwu Okeke, the State Chairman of JONAPWD, stated this at a one-day Validation meeting on the Draft Abridged Version (Pidgin And Igbo) of Anambra State Disability Right Law (2018), held in Awka, on Friday.
Tribune Online gathered that the one-day programme was sponsored by the European Union in collaboration with the British Council and Role Of Law And Anti-Corruption (ROLAC).
Speaking further, Okeke said that the group was worried about the security challenges currently confronting the state, especially, during this electioneering period.
According to him, we may not participate in the voting process if we are not sure of our safety. You know our conditions, we can not run, in case of any unknown gunmen shooting, which we pray against on that day.
He called on the Anambra State Police Commissioner, Mr Echeng Eworo Echeng, to give special attention to over 400,000 voter card-carrying members who are ready to exercise their franchise, come November 6.
He, however, urged the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure equal voting access for all voters including Person’s with Disabilities (PWDs) in the election.
INEC has assured us that it would ensure PWDs are provided with, priority voting, signage poster on the election process at polling units, access for personal sign language interpreters for deaf voters, and accessible polling units among other provisions.
“Also, priority voting for PWDs, and mobilisation of volunteer sign language interpreters to assist the deaf, and support the blind voters,” Okeke added.
He urged INEC also to ensure that its ad hoc staff at polling units captures voters with disabilities and also to gather vital data of PWDs for future election planning.
The State Coordinator of ROLAC, Mrs Josephine Onah, in his brief speech, during the programme, while commending the State House of Assembly and Governor Willie Obiano, for passaged and assent to Anambra State Disability Rights Law (2018), said the law will help the disabled persons in the state to speak and interpret words in Igbo and Pidgin without any form of harassment and intimidation.