The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has mandated the use of face masks for individuals before they can exercise their franchise in the forthcoming elections.
This is part of measures by the Commission to ensure the safety of voters ahead of the Edo, and Ondo governorship polls amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is mandatory for every voter to wear a face mask or face covering without which the voter would not be allowed to vote,” the Chairman of the electoral body, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, said at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja Thursday.
The INEC boss while giving insight into the nature of face masks voters are expected to wear during the elections, said the electorates do not need surgical masks to cast their ballots.
He explained that “a face covering will be sufficient for a voter to be accredited to vote.”
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.
‘Obeying All Directions’
For voters who have a high temperature, cough, or sneezing, the former Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) said there is a protocol by the body.
“They must obey all directions from officials to stop other voters from getting infected,” said the INEC boss.
‘Procedure For Evacuation’
In case of emergencies, INEC also has a “procedure for evacuation” and will be collaborating with health officials in the different states, according to the former lecturer.
“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.