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US Institute worries over voting by IDPs


Maiduguri IDP camp ariel view

Maiduguri IDP camp ariel view. Photo: Signalng

The United States-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) has expressed concern over the possible disenfranchisement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in some parts of the country due to absence of voting centres in the camps.

The Institute also urged youths to shun violence and any activities that could mar the electoral process.

In an interview with The Guardian in Abuja, NDI’s Resident Senior Director, Aubrey McCutcheon, said the long distance between the camps and polling centres could hinder many IDPs from exercising their voting right, noting: “We have been involved in voter education in Adamawa State. Unfortunately, we found that the IDP camp there is far away from polling units, like 35km away. Even as we encourage them to vote, it is somehow likely that they won’t be able to travel that far, because they cannot move on election day.”


McCutcheon said INEC did not set up any polling unit close to IDP camps in the state and efforts to make the electoral umpire do so had been unproductive, noting that the Institute has been involved in major campaigns to support People Living With Disabilities (PWDs) to exercise their democratic rights.

NDI commended INEC for adopting the braille ballot guard method to make the process easier for blind voters, while urging the commission to do more to ensure that PWDs are not disenfranchised.

McCutcheon advised candidates and political parties to employ acceptable and legal dispute resolution mechanisms if they are not satisfied with the outcome of the poll instead of resorting to violence.

He called on Nigerians to come out massively and vote for their preferred candidates, saying that is the only way their voices would be heard. 

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