Blind, deaf, dumb persons protest in Anambra over voting rights

October 7, 2017

Tony Okafor, Awka

Persons with disabilities have staged a protest in Awka, the Anambra State capital, over their voting rights.

The group said its members were being marginalised in election issues.

It demanded equal voting access in the November 18, 2017 poll in the state and in other elections.

The Executive Director of Centre for Citizen with Disabilities, Mr. David Anyaele, led the protest.

Anyaele said persons with disabilities were more than 600,000 in Anambra State and over 25 million in Nigeria.

He said, “The number of people with disabilities in Nigeria towered above the number of citizens in countries like Croatia, Belgium Denmark, and New Zealand put together.”

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He said the group would take their protest to the Independent National Electoral Commission and ask to be provided with items as braille ballots, assistive devices, especially for the visually impaired amongst them.

The group threatened to take its protest to the National and State Houses of Assembly if they were not properly accommodated in the electoral processes of the country, starting with the Anambra poll.

It maintained that it had lined up activities in that respect, including interfacing with INEC officials, political parties, security agencies, heads of organisations, the media to sensitize them on areas of intervention on the marginalisation of their members.

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It added, “Also, we will train and deploy two persons with disabilities each as observers across the 21 local government areas of Anambra State to observe the governorship election of November 18.

“We shall also impress on INEC to carefully choose the location of polling units to ensure that they are accessible for PWDs by locating polling units on flat surfaces as opposed to corridors, especially where ramps and hand rails are yet to be provided”

The group used the occasion to launch its chapter in Anambra State.

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