… As Official says 5,000 registers for COVID-19 Delta CARES programme***
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has created 1,162 additional polling units in Ebonyi, bring the total polling units in the state to 2, 947.
Dr Joseph Chukwu, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, announced this at a stakeholders’ meeting on Thursday in Abakaliki.
Chukwu explained that the additional polling units were created from the existing voting points.
He further explained that the creation of the new units was the outcome of the polling units’ expansion done recently across the country ahead of the 2023 general election.
Chukwu said the initiative was aimed at providing more access to eligible electorate and eliminate barriers that hindered voters from exercising their franchise during elections.
The REC said that before INEC embarked on the expansion, it organised a two-day training for its Electoral Officers (EOs) and Assistant Electoral Officers (AEOs) to ensure a hitch free exercise.
He said that the electoral officers and their assistants worked in collaboration with critical stakeholders to identify appropriate location of the polling units.
“I am happy to inform you that the exercise was successfully concluded without hitches and that the information generated has been verified and confirmed by the commission’s verification team led by Prof. Okechukwu Ibeano, INEC National Commissioner.
“It is heart warning to inform you that at the end of the exercise, Ebonyi now has a total of 2,947 polling units as against 1,785 which it hitherto had.
“This shows an increase of 1,162 expanded polling units which cut across the 13 local government areas of the state, representing 65 per cent increase,’’ Chukwu said.
He said that the commission would begin the 2021 Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) from June 28 and urged the stakeholders to sensitise the people.
Chukwu said that the exercise would avail the electorate opportunity to update and obtain the Permanent Voter’s Card.
“The exercise is for those who have not attained 18 years as at the time of last registration; those who have not registered before and those who have relocated to another area.
“The CVR is in preparation for the 2023 general elections and other electoral activities,’’ he said.
In another development, More than 5,000 persons have been registered for financial grant under the Delta COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (Delta CARES) programme, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
Mrs Susan Omiete, of Growth and Operations Department, Bank of Industry, told newsmen on Thursday in Asaba that the prospective beneficiaries were registered across all the 25 local government areas of the state.
Omiete said that the verification exercise, which began on Thursday in Asaba, would hold simultaneously in Agbor and Ogwashi-Uku, in Ika North East and Aniocha South local government areas respectively.
She explained that the bank was working in collaboration with the state government to provide support for MSMEs and empower them to start their businesses again.
According to her, the programme, which is an offshoot of the Federal Government’s own, is being sponsored by World Bank and Bank of Industry.
“The programme is aimed at reviving micro and medium enterprises that were negatively impacted by COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
Omiete said that the initiative was geared towards reviving and re-awakening small scale industries so that they could come back on stream, particularly with financial aid.
”A few weeks ago, the state government, in collaboration with Bank of Industry, trained 200 enumerators who would assist in identifying the small and micro enterprises for the purpose of boosting their performances with financial grant.
”Eligibility criteria were put in place to guide the enumerators on who is qualified to be enlisted into the programme,” she said.
Omiete also said that those who were invited for the physical verification at the various centres across the state had been registered, adding that their information were already in the Delta CARES data base.
“So when we verify their businesses, it will determine the amount of money we will disburse to them.
”So far, we have more than 5,000 persons across the 25 local government areas of the state, ”she said.
On his part, the Executive Secretary, Delta State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency, Mrs Orezi Esievo, said that the grant was secured by the state government.