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INEC Plans Voting Centers For Two Million IDPs

Ahead of the 2023 elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission plans to set up voting centres for over two million Internally Displaced Persons across the country, to be sighted in IDP camps.

The Chairman, of the Board of Survey and Technical Committee on Equipment Acquisition, INEC, Mohammed Haruna, confirmed that the commission was working on setting up voting centres for the displaced persons to ensure that no one was disenfranchised in 2023.

Haruna explained that with the spread of insecurity across the country, INEC would conduct elections in IDP camps where they still exist, but would adopt a different approach for the internally displaced persons living in communities.

The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development indicate that many of the IDPs are living in Borno, Zamfara, Benue, Nasarawa and 23 other states.

A majority of them were displaced from their communities by either Boko Haram insurgents, armed herdsmen and bandits or natural disasters or other emergencies.

Although no official number has been given for the number of IDPs affected,   about two million IDPs in camps and communities may fall into this category.

Haruna further explained that the issue of people voting in IDP camps is complicated. When insecurity was essentially restricted to the North-East ahead of the last general elections in 2019, it was easy to create IDPs camps. This time, however, many of the camps in the North-East and the few elsewhere have closed and most displaced persons have dispersed inside communities away from where they registered.

‘’Besides, insecurity has now spread nationwide. We will conduct elections in IDP camps where they still exist. But for the internally displaced persons living in communities, we need a different approach. We will do our best to see that no one is disenfranchised.’’

The INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, had disclosed then that voting modalities were established for 930,000 IDPs in Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Edo, FCT, Nasarawa, Ondo, Plateau, Taraba and Yobe states.

“These displacements are the result of insurgency, farmers/herders’ clashes, land disputes, banditry, natural disasters and other emergencies.

“It is estimated that there are around 930,000 IDPs in Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Edo, FCT, Nasarawa, Ondo, Plateau, Taraba and Yobe. INEC has classified the IDPs by location, surveyed their voter registration status and designed a special voting regime and procedure for them,” Okoye said.

Officials of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development confirmed on Monday that about 3.2m IDPs are in the country. This includes children and infants. According to analysts, eligible voters among the number may not be less than two million IDPs.

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