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Yiaga- Africa urges INEC to coordinate with security agencies, forestall incidences of violence

By Uche Kalu and Chikaodi Chukwuleta

Less than 24hours to governorship election in Anambra State, Yiaga- Africa has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure the safety of voters and poll officials through proper coordination with the security agencies to forestall incidences of violence.

The group through it's  Executive Director, Samson Itodo stated this while addressing journalists at Vertext Hotels, Nibo.

   It cautioned INEC to ensure it's promise of expanding citizen's access to polling units and that voting materials and personnel are deployed to all polling units with registered voters in the state.

   Yiaga- Africa while calling on security agencies deployed for the election to respect the rights of citizens, media and observers, urged them to ensure protection for vulnerable voters especially women and persons with disabilities.

  According to the group, " security personnel should enforce appropriate sanctions for any form of violation of the Electoral Act, especially threats to the right to vote or attempt to buy votes; deploy monitoring mechanisms to checkmate and curtail personnel excesses on election day."

  Yiaga-Africa however charged political parties, candidates and their supporters to refrain from vote buying as well as compromising the ballot's secrecy to ensure citizens are free to vote their preference for governor.

   Commending the efforts of INEC to improve voter access to polling units by creating additional 1,112 polling units in the state, Yiaga noted that introduction of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System ( BVAS) which is a replacement to the Smart Card Reader will improve the quality and transparency of the election, called the attention of INEC and security agencies to notorious blind spots and riverine communities that could pose a logistical challenge and undermine the integrity of the election, to ensure early commencement of polls in those areas.

   The group urges security agencies to be non- partisan and exhibit professionalism in the discharge of their duties and ensure the state is safe for voters to exercise their civic right, expressing optimism that deployment of security in the state will be distributed across all polling units and not limited to selected locations.

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