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LG Polls: Lagos restricts movement on Saturday

The Lagos State Government has announced a restriction of movement across the State between the hours of 8 am and 3 pm on Saturday, July…

The Lagos State Government has announced a restriction of movement across the State between the hours of 8 am and 3 pm on Saturday, July 24, 2021.

This is to enable the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) to conduct hitch-free local government and local council development areas elections.

LASIEC is to conduct elections into positions of chairmen and councillors in all the 57 local government and local council development areas in the State on Saturday.

According to a statement issued by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, the restriction will facilitate the ease of movement of the electorate, election materials and LASIEC officials for the sanctity of the election, effective monitoring and enhanced security.

Omotoso urged all eligible voters to participate in the elections while also calling for the cooperation of all residents.

Our reporter had earlier observed a rally by members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) seeking the support of the people at the poll for candidates representing Agege Local Government Area.

Disability clusters

Meanwhile, a pre-election assessment of the LASIEC’s provisions for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), led by the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), has revealed that no deliberate effort had been made to include various disability clusters in the Commission’s guidelines for the elections.

The Senior Program (Research) Officer at CCD, Mr Victor Owoyomi, who presented findings of the pre-election assessment to newsmen on Thursday in Lagos, said that LASIEC excluded persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups in their electoral guidelines for the forthcoming election because no reference was made to them in the extant LASIEC electoral guideline.

“By implication, many PWDs will continue to struggle in accessing electoral materials and participating on an equal basis with others.

“While there were some levels of engagement between the CSOs and LAISEC, regrettably, LASIEC failed to reach out or respond to the request from the organisations of persons with disabilities in Lagos State while preparing the electoral materials, voters’ education, recruitment of ad-hoc staff, and electoral observers among other electoral stakeholders’ engagements,” the report stated.

Findings also showed that a larger proportion of PWDs interviewed lack sufficient knowledge about the specific provisions in the State, national and international legal frameworks on PWDs rights to vote and to be voted for while the majority of PWDs shared limited knowledge about the LASIEC’s preparations for the forthcoming Local Councils elections.

“Many among the few PWDs who voted during the last July 2017 Local Government election in Lagos State faced multiple barriers. Chief among these barriers include lack of sign language interpreters for the deaf cluster, discrimination against the blind and placing of polling units across gutters for physically challenged and spinal cord injured persons on a wheelchair.

“Also, many of the electoral materials used by LASIEC in the conducted July 2017 Local Government election were not available in an accessible and understandable format for the visually impaired (blind) clusters and persons with albinism as well as persons with auditory impairments.

Also, the majority of the PWDs, who plan to vote in the July 2021 forthcoming election, have serious concerns for their security and public safety as many of them are worried about electoral violence and the Delta COVID-19 pandemic.

Owoyomi, therefore, called for urgent action by electoral stakeholders in Lagos State; urging LASIEC to as a matter of urgency collaborate with the Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA), Joint National Association of Persons With Disability (JONAPWDS) and other relevant Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) to include in their electoral guideline, the disability component in order to address the needs and concerns of persons with disabilities in the forthcoming July 2021 Local Government Election.