- INEC has revealed its future plans for persons with disabilities
- Persons with disabilities are key stakeholders in the country with a population of over 20 million people
- INEC's plans as disclosed during an event tagged Break The Cycle in Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has promised to ensure that Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) are carried along in its electoral policies.
The assurance was given by INEC's Civil Society Desk office, Samuel Bassey on Monday, February 10 in Abuja.
The INEC official made the comment at the launch of Break The Cycle, an empowerment initiative to combat violence against women and girls with disabilities.
Break The Cycle is an initiative of the Disability Rights Advocacy Center (DRAC), Nigeria's leading non-governmental organisation advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities.
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Bassey said: “A lot of programmes and activities at the commission set out to enhance the participation of people living with disabilities in the election process.
“There is a framework used to help structure the commission's obligations towards the PWDs community by identifying the challenges that they face.”
On allegations that people living with disabilities are disenfranchised during elections, Bassey said: “there are new rules in the commission to ensure that they are integrated into the mainstream electoral processes.”
Speaking to journalists on the sideline of the event, the executive director of DRAC, Dr Irene Patrick-Ogbogu, said Break The Cycle is aimed at combating the drivers of violence against women and girls living with a disability.
Her words: “In our society, we found that some of the things that make women and girls with disabilities more prone to violence are the fact that they are socio-economically disempowered, they are dependent on their care-givers and sometimes those care-givers are violent towards them.
“Part of the reason is also that they face discrimination in society. So this project has taken an in-depth look at those factors that make it difficult for people to respect women and girls living with disabilities.
“And we are now trying to address those barriers, economic empowerment through leadership training and political participation.
“We will also be mobilising the communities where they live to be more supportive of them and to understand their rights and be inclusive of them.
“Ultimately, we hope that this will result in the reduction of gender-based violence.’’
Recall that late last year, DRAC called on the federal government to implement the Disability Act signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in January 2019.
The group made the call after showcasing the reality of gender-based violence and discrimination faced by persons with disabilities in a short film.
The Act provides full integration of persons with disabilities into society and establishes a national commission for persons lwith disabilities with the responsibility of providing welfare and development for the otherwise vulnerable group.
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