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Edo Election: European Centre decries non-compliance to COVID-19 protocols

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People wearing face masks queue up to vote during the Edo State governorship elections in Benin City, Midwestern Nigeria, on September 19, 2020. – Hundreds of thousand voters gathered at the polls in Edo State, Midwestern Nigeria to elect a new governor or re-elect the incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for a second term, the first elections in Africa’s most populous country amidst coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

The European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES), on Saturday said voters in Ologbosere primary school, ward 4 with 40 units and other polling units they visited were not observing the COVID-19 guidelines as stipulated in the INEC policy.

Mr Wilson Manji, the deputy project coordinator, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), that although the voters were all wearing face masks but they did not maintain social distancing.

“So far the election is going smoothly and calm. We are at Ologbosere primary in Ikpoba-Okha local government area of the state.

“So far everything is peaceful and calm here. Just that the INEC staff just arrived at about 10a.m. and accreditation and voting started at about 10.30a.m. instead of 8.30a.m,” he said.

According to him, the polling officers came with hand sanitisers and thermometers to check the temperature of every voter.

On his part, the Head, INEC Voter Education and Publicity, Timidi Wariowei, told newsmen at INEC office in Benin that most of the polling units and voting points started voting at 8.30a.m.

“But we are aware that there are some few isolated cases that started 9.a.m. or after 9.a.m. because of some issues they needed to sort out.

“From the reports we are getting, almost all the polling units have started voting,” he said.

Wariowei, however, said he observed that the voters were all wearing face masks but did not maintain social distancing.
According to Wariowei, before I left the polling units I visited, I educated the people on the need to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 regulations by maintaining social distancing for the safety of all.


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