The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has mandated the use of face masks by voters in the forthcoming Edo and Ondo governorship elections.
elections must wear their face masks or be prevented from voting.
Yakubu who announced this at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) briefing on COVID-19 on Thursday in Abuja said any voter without Facemask will be prevented from voting.
According to him the decision was part of measures by the Commission to ensure the safety of voters at the polls amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The INEC chairman explained that with the pandemic, it had become necessary to wear a face cover, which does not necessarily need to be medical mask but any material that could be used to cover the nose and mouth.
To ensure physical distance during the elections, Professor Mahmood said INEC is introducing two queues in the polling areas.
“One outside the polling area and the other, inside the polling area,” Professor Mahmood said while stressing that “within the inner queue, voters must maintain the mandatory two-meter or six feet distance and we clearly marked this in one of the by-elections we conducted recently.”
In the polling units, voters must also avoid touching surfaces or leaning on walls, the INEC boss added.
He also stated that the commission had produced ten points voters video conduct, which had been distributed in the two states.
Speaking on the electronic voting, the INEC boss said the commission could not employ this system now because the laws had not permitted it.
He, however, stated that electronic balloting would be used in Anambra election in 2021 since the law allowed for electronic balloting and not electronic voting.
Meanwhile, the INEC chairman also revealed that the PTF had donated additional 3,000 thermometers to INEC, which would be added to the 1,000 earlier donated and deployed to Edo and Ondo for elections.
In case of emergencies, INEC also has a “procedure for evacuation” and will be collaborating with health officials in the different states.
“In Edo State, for instance, we are working with the State Response team,” he explained.
The Edo Governorship election will take place September 19th, 2020 while that of Ondo State is billed for the 10th of October.