Fears over fate of IDPs votes in Benue

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Internally-Displaced Persons ( IDPs ) are being disenfranchised and mischievous politicians may be manipulating votes in IDP camps, civil society activists have alleged.

 

Although INEC spokesman, Mr. Andya Terkaa, told The Nation that everything was being done to enable all displaced persons with PVC to vote, the Benue State Civil Society Coalition says it discovered arrangements were made for voting in only two out of the eight existing IDP camps.

 

Since the bloody bandits’ attacks that reached a high point in January last year, thousands of displaced Benue indigenes have remained in IDP camps amidst unconfirmed reports that some individuals who dared to return home were being shot by unknown assailants.

 

“We went to great lengths to sensitise IDPs to vote and more than twenty thousand of them collected PVC but only those in two camps are to vote,” the coalition’s Executive Director, Ms Helen Tegh Tegh told The Nation during an interaction at the office in Makurdi on Friday.

 

“The two IDP camps where voting is really taking place are Anyin and Ugba camps, both of which are in Logo local government area.

 

“For reasons of security, lack of transport fare and loss of homes during last year’s attacks, thousands of IDPs who were told to go and vote in their respective villages will not be able to use those votes,” Helen Tegh Tegh who is also the Executive Director of Community Link Initiatives stated.

 

However, INEC asserted that there is no problem to worry about.

 

According to INEC spokesman, Andya Terkaa, the commission did a profiling of ODPs and made provision for adequate number of voting points after realizing that most IDPs cannot go home to vote.

 

“The profiling data was taken to Abuja for further analysis and approval and now, the commission is providing IDP Voting Points so that people will not be disenfranchised.

 

“In normal polling units, there would be just one or two ballot boxes but several will be provided at the Voting Point, based on the profiling and if it means giving them fifteen ballot boxes, the commission will give them,” he explained.

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