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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Electoral Amendment: CSOs Protest Against Delayed Assent to Bill

A Coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) is protesting in Abuja to compel President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the reworked Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

The placard-wielding protesters converged at the Unity Fountain in their numbers chanting anti-government songs.

Some of the inscriptions on their placards read: ‘Buhari Sign Electoral Bill Now, Prevent Elections Rigging’, ‘The Bill Protects the Voting Rights of PWDS’, ‘Buhari Save Our Democracy’ among others.

Armed policemen were deployed to the Unity Fountain, while the convoy of joint task force was sighted at the Eagle Square mobilizing for operation.

Speaking briefly before the protesters processed towards the National Assembly, Convener of Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, Ene Obi, alleged that the delay by the present administration in assenting to the bill was a conspiracy against the Nigerian people and a plot to rig coming elections.

Obi appealed to the president, as the father of the nation, to sign the bill, as more than 400 members of the National Assembly put in effort to pass the bill.

AIHS 2022

Executive Director, Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo, said the bill “is important for several reasons” because it would help in guaranteeing an inclusive and credible electoral process.

According to Itodo, if the reworked bill is signed into law, INEC will have all the money it requires for the conduct of elections.

Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and Chair, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), Auwal Rafsanjani, said that Nigerians were tired of electoral manipulations.

Rafsanjani added that Nigerians were also tired of the absence of electoral integrity; hence they wanted electoral inclusion of women.

He noted that all these would be made possible by the assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill 2022. Executive Director of Inclusive Friends Association (IFA), Grace Jerry, said the new electoral bill would give the more than 30 million community of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) access to the electoral process.

The coalition, therefore, recommended that Buhari should sign the bill into law on or before March 1, 2022.

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