The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has directed its offices in Edo and Ondo states to re-open with immediate effect ahead the governorship elections slated for September and October respectively.
The Commission however ordered its management in the two states to consult with relevant State governments for the issuance of necessary permits. INEC had closed down its offices across the country at the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The directive was contained in the guidelines for resumption released by the Commission on Tuesday. The guideline disclosed that all funds required to meet the hygiene protocols will be made available to the two state offices as soon as possible.
The guideline reads in part :”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 26th April 2020 to gradually ease the lockdown measures imposed on the FCT Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States since 30th of March 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 added that the use of face masks is compulsory throughout the offices of the Commission, for all staff, visitors and contractors at all times, adding that no staff or visitor should be allowed into the Commission without face masks.
“The INEC Clinic and sickbay staff will be provided with and trained on the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
and early detection of COVID-19 symptoms.
“Specific guidelines will be made available to relevant staff handling the thermometer at the entrances on early detection of suspected cases,” it stressed.
The Staff were also enjoined to promptly report any suspected case with symptoms of the virus. Meanwhile, 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 minimize physical contacts; Zoom, Skype, Webinars and other Virtual interactive techniques will be explored and employed to meet internally and with external stakeholders”, the guideline continued.
It also directed that, “all staff above age 58 with underlying medical conditions (hypertension, diabetes, asthma, renal and hepatic diseases,) should work from home”.