26th May, 2020
By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu said COVID-19 poses health challenges to the electoral process.
He stated that in order to protect voters, election officials and other stakeholders in the electoral process, the commission shall implement some measures.
They include supply and use of infrared thermometers at the Registration Area Collation Centres, the Local Government Area Collation Centres and the State Collation Centres.
“The use of face masks is mandatory for all involved in the election process and must be worn at all election locations.
“The Commission shall provide face masks for all election officials; and Alcohol-based hand sanitizers will be provided for election officials at the polling units.
“Methylated Spirit and cotton wool will be provided for the disinfection of the Smart Card Readers (SCRs) after the fingerprint of each voter is read.
“The rules of physical distancing shall be enforced at all election activities including stakeholder engagements, training, queuing at Polling Units, amongst others.”
Yakubu added that all protocols issued by the NCDC, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, State Committees on COVID-19 and other relevant health authorities should be observed by election officials and all stakeholders.
“The Commission shall work with the PTF and health authorities to have in place a system of voluntary COVID-19 testing for INEC staff before and after deploying for elections,” he said.
The INEC chairman added that the commission shall work with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and health authorities in the states having elections to develop a protocol for dealing with persons who show symptoms of COVID-19 at election venues.
“Where an election official, a voter or any other person present at an election venue shows symptoms of COVID-19:
“The prevailing protocol shall be observed; the person must be isolated from other persons at the venue; the attention of the security personnel should be drawn;
“The dedicated number for COVID – 19 emergencies shall be called; and, if the affected person is an election official, the Commission must be notified through the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC),” Yakubu stated.