The European Union said it has spent more than 100 million euros in electoral support to Nigeria.
The Ambassadors of EU Member States & Like-minded Countries in Nigeria met with @inecnigeria to discuss forthcoming elections. @epellejake also mentioned some challenges faced by people living with disabilities. INEC promises a fair and inclusive elections.#EU4DemocracyNG pic.twitter.com/TUaXhQLNf0
— EU in Nigeria 🇪🇺 (@EUinNigeria) December 7, 2018
Naija News understands that this was disclosed at the end of a closed door meeting between the ambassadors of the European Union and top INEC officials to discuss the state of preparedness of INEC for the forthcoming 2019 elections.
The meeting discussed the importance of security services and their neutral role in maintaining peace and transparent elections.
Speaking after the meeting, Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria, Ketil Karlson, expressed EU’s commitment to providing all necessary support that will enhance credibility and success of 2019 general elections in Nigeria.
”Today we are here to discuss the importance of the participation of people with disabilities, women and youth to ensure these people have better access to voting,” Mr Karlsen said.
”The EU has been supporting INEC for a very long time, it is not something we started doing just ahead of the elections. So as a matter of fact, we have been providing institutional support and technical support for a very long time.
”Let me say the support from the EU does not start here, because since 1999 we have provided more than one million euros to support the democratic processes in Nigeria.”And we are very thankful to INEC and our other partners in Nigeria. We would all like to see a continued consolidation of democracy through free and fair elections in 2019,” he added.
Karlson said the meeting with the INEC delegation afforded it the opportunity to assess the level of preparation and further look at other areas of collaboration that would enhance credibility of the 2019 general elections.
The EU delegation head also expressed confidence that INEC would conduct a free and credible election come 2019, noting that the EU had supported the commission in various ways.
The INEC Boss, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu who also spoke at the end of the meeting said INEC would ensure inclusiveness in the electoral process for women, youth and people with disabilities, adding that NEC has been Persons Living with Disabilities (PWD)-friendly.
It would be recalled that directors at INEC adopted the draft Framework on Access and Participation of Persons Living with Disabilities ahead 2019 General Elections.
”INEC has been PWD-friendly. Remember in the Anambra elections, for the first time in the history of elections in Nigeria we introduced the magnifying glasses for those with visual impairment,” Mr Yakubu said.
“In the Osun governorship election, we introduced textile balloting, meaning that those with visual impairment again were able to vote and were assisted.”
”We have said it several times, if you look at the voter registration that we have, it is very robust and in the election that we have conducted we have never had any issues with an illegible person in the register. And very recently we have also displayed the entire national register of voters in all 119,917 polling units nationwide for citizens to help us clean up the register.
”Another thing is that we have been collating claims and objections of citizens. On Tuesday next week, we are inviting the resident electoral commissioners to further discuss the outcome of the display of the voter’s register. And after we have met, we will make whatever findings we have known to the public,” he added.