The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) disclosed on Friday its readiness to assist the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on combating COVID-19 in the country.
Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, said about 100 pick-up vans would be released to the PTF by the electoral body to complemeng its efforts in six states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the first instance.
The vehicles would be used for contact tracing, surveillance/laboratory and infection prevention/control in Lagos, Osun, Oyo, Kano, Rivers and the Federal Capital Territory.
Aside the deployment of vehicles, Okoye further revealed that the commission has opened discussion with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development on the possibility of the relief agency to use INEC electoral registration areas (wards) and polling units nationwide as locations for the distribution of palliative and other relief materials to citizens.
“The 8,809 wards and 119,973 polling units are located in various communities in the country and citizens are familiar with their locations,” the statement noted.
INEC further revealed that it “is working with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Telecommunication service providers to assist in raising public awareness of the pandemic by sending bulk messages (sms) to registered voters similar to what we do for voter mobilisation. Short messages were adopted from the flyers/leaflets issued by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). This follows the suspension of the Do Not Disturb (DND) policy on sending unsolicited messages to telephone subscribers by NCC.
“The Commission wishes to assure the public that it will join hands with all agencies and stakeholders to combat COVID-19 in Nigeria.
“We urge all (save for those on essential duties) to stay at home, maintain recommended social distancing and remain safe by obeying all guidelines issued by the relevant authorities.”