Mobilizing for a generational change

INEC reopens Edo, Ondo offices ahead of polls

•Commission issues guideline for resumption after COVID-19 break

Okodili Ndidi, Abuja

THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has directed its offices in Edo and Ondo states to reopen, ahead of the governorship elections slated for September and October in both states.

The commission, however, ordered its management in the two states to consult with the state governments for the issuance of permits.

INEC had closed down its offices across the country in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The directive was contained in the guidelines for resumption released by INEC on Tuesday.

The guideline said that the funds required to meet the hygiene protocols would be made available to the two state offices as soon as possible.

The guideline reads: “The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) issues these guidelines for resumption of duty after the COVID-19 lockdown, and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. This is in line with the presidential directive of April 26, 2020 to gradually ease the lockdown measures imposed on the FCT Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states since March 30, 2020.

“These guidelines, though consistent with those issued by the Federal Government/Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, also aim to reflect peculiarities of the commission nationwide. The guidelines cover areas such as hygiene and personal health, sanitation within office premises, distancing measures and related matters for the headquarters and state offices of the commission.”

It said the use of face masks is compulsory throughout the offices of the commission for all workers, visitors and contractors at all times, adding that no official or visitor should be allowed into the commission without face mask.

“The INEC clinic and sickbay workers will be provided with and trained in the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and early detection of COVID-19 symptoms.

“Specific guidelines will be made available to relevant workers handling the thermometer at the entrances on early detection of suspected cases,” the guideline said.

The workers were enjoined to report any suspected case with symptoms of the virus.

Congregational prayers in the mosque and chapel have been prohibited for the time being.

“All meetings in the commission should be limited to key participants and the duration of meetings be reduced to the

necessary minimum. Where necessary, a combination of virtual and physical meetings should be held to minimise physical contacts; Zoom, Skype, Webinars and other virtual interactive techniques will be explored and employed to meet internally and with external stakeholders,” the guideline said.

It directed that “all workers above 58 years with underlying medical conditions (hypertension, diabetes, asthma, renal and hepatic diseases,) should work from home.”

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