The Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday advocated the setting up of voter registration centres at the Internally Displaced Person camps and host communities.
According to the commission, the registration centres would allow the IDPs to exercise their franchise without undue burdens.
The National Commissioner and Chairman, Outreach and Partnership Committee, INEC, Prof. Kunle Ajayi, made this known in Abuja at the training of IDP coordinators on 2022 regulations and framework for voting by the IDPs.
The programme which was organised by the All-rights Foundation Africa and funded by the European Union through its Support for Democratic Governance in Nigeria focused on enhancing IDPs’ participation in the electoral process.
In September 2022, INEC reviewed the electoral framework for voters in IDP camps.
This was due to the passage of the 2022 Electoral Act and the introduction of new technologies, according to INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu.
Ajayi, who was represented by a committee member of the Framework for Voting by the IDPs, Dorathy Bello, noted that the plight of the IDPs is an issue of grave concern as they often endure immense hardships and face multiple challenges daily.
The National Commissioner noted that based on the obstacles faced by the IDPs, “We must collectively work towards creating an inclusive and enabling environment that encourages and empowers the IDPs to actively participate in the democratic process.
“This will allow the IDPs to easily register as voters and exercise their right to vote without undue burdens.
“Additionally, as an inclusive Commission, implementation of voter education programmes tailored to the specific needs of IDPs, aiming to inform them about their rights, the electoral process, and the significance of their participation is very crucial.”
Ajayi added that the commission with the collaboration of relevant stakeholders can mobilize resources and expertise to ensure that IDPs are adequately represented and that their interests are safeguarded in the political sphere.
At the event, the Chief Executive Officer, TAF Africa, Jake Epelle, said INEC policies are not known to people, hence the need to train the IDP coordinators.
“An IDP has automatically become a marginalised individual.
“INEC has a lot of policies and frameworks that many people are not even aware of. One of such policies is that of the electoral framework for voters in IDP camps.
“This is our first step of enlightening not only the coordinators but the general public about the role of INEC, and IDPs in the electoral process,” Epelle said.