TAF AFRICA TRAINS INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS ON THE 2022 FRAMEWORK FOR VOTING BY IDPS

With funding from the European Union through its support to democratic governance in Nigeria program, TAF Africa trained internally displaced persons in Adamawa, Benue, Bayelsa, and Kaduna states on the 2022 Framework for voting by Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), during a sensitization program. The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at Angwan Zawu temporary camp located in Goni Gora, Chikun Local Government area of Kaduna State appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deploy human and material resources to their camp to enable them to take part in the coming by-election and local government elections. The Camp Coordinator, Mr. Caleb Nayaro lamented that less than a quarter of about 3,000 displaced persons scattered across five locations under his watch which included Buruku, Kakau, Toll Gate, Sabon Gida, and Buwaya were able to take part in the 2023 round of elections due to insecurity, ignorance among other reasons. In his remarks, Abdu Bello, the IDP community leader in Adamawa state, represented by Sallau Isa, appreciated the organization for the sensitization and called on INEC to improve voter education, especially for those in the camps, adding that during the 2023 general elections at unit 001 in the community, about 400 votes were cast and over 100 were invalid. He promised that other displaced persons would be enlightened on the knowledge received from the organization for them to fully participate in subsequent elections. The Assistant Programme Manager, TAF Africa, Mr George Dominic Anwayi regretted that vulnerable people including the IDPs were excluded from the scheme of things across all tiers of government. In his words, “Honestly, IDPs have been left behind in Nigeria. So, we need INEC to deploy its human and material resources to ensure they are properly registered and participate in all elections. We know that INEC also makes a case for IDPs to ensure they participate fully in elections, which they may not be aware of. They are supposed to be a part of the electoral process, and this is why we are here. “We are also calling on the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIECOM) to ensure IDPs are carried along as well in terms of sensitization for them to know their voting rights especially to know the provision in the electoral act. IDP leaders have been trained on the available platform for IDPs to register and vote during elections with the expectation that they would replicate the same to their subject. “We hope that you now understand that there is a provision for you to participate in elections and where you observe anything contrary to the provisions of the election guideline, you have the right to complain to INEC,” he charged the IDPs. In Bayelsa state, the Chairman of Bakassi Returnees, Cameroon Camp, Mr.Richman Knight, its coordinator, Chief Osuobotoye Bedford, and Women leader, Beauty Toru, described the program as timely and apt. Mr. Knight, Chief Bedford, and Mrs. Toru narrated their ordeal while performing their civic obligation and the discrimination they suffered. They appealed to INEC to site polling units in their camps to save time and cost of traveling to other communities to exercise their civic duty. The trio also appealed to the electoral umpire to establish voter registration centers in Internally Displaced Persons camps and host communities to ensure their full participation in the electoral process.   According to the TAF Africa’s program manager, Mr. Olayemi Samuel, the sensitization was premised on the need to increase the knowledge of IDPs on the new regulation and inform them that INEC is working on creating opportunities for IDPs to engage in decision-making processes at all levels. He encouraged the IDPs to get their permanent voter cards to enable them to exercise their franchise in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the State.

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