Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned that no staff or visitor will be allowed access into its offices without putting on a face mask, stressing that it is compulsory to wear it.
The directive was contained in the guidelines it issued for resumption after the COVID-19 lockdown and made available to the media by the Director Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osage Uzzi.
It further noted that the guideline is aimed at reflecting the peculiarities of the Commission nationwide to cover areas such as hygiene and personal health, sanitation within office premises.
INEC, in the released guidelines, also announced the prohibition of congregational prayers in the Mosque and Chapel for the time being.
The directive reads:
“All offices of the Commission will be decontaminated before resumption and periodically to ensure environmental safety. Staff of our Facility Managers and INEC cleaners shall be trained on continuous disinfection/decontamination procedures.
“The use of face masks is compulsory throughout the offices of the Commission, for all staff, visitors and contractors at all times. Staff are encouraged to have their own face masks and will be guided on the
use of masks. No staff/visitor should be allowed into the Commission without face masks.
“Hand sanitizers will be provided at all entrances, exits and offices of the Commission. Meanwhile, staff are encouraged to have their personal hand sanitizers. Office clerks will be given guidelines on handling/decontamination of mails and files.
“Funds will be made available to state offices to procure hand sanitizers for use in the office premises. 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.
“Hand sanitizers will be provided at all entrances, exits and offices of the Commission. Meanwhile, staff are encouraged to have their personal hand sanitizers. Office clerks will be given guidelines on handling/decontamination of mails and files. Funds will be made available to state offices to procure hand sanitizers for use in the office premises.
“There must be provision of water and soap for handwashing at all entrances and exits of the Commission offices and during all Commission activities. Infrared thermometers must be used at entry and exit points at all offices of the Commission, and proper protocols will be established for the operators.
“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.
“Staff have responsibility to urgently report any suspected case with symptoms of the virus (cough, fever e.t.c) to the officer-in-charge at the sickbay at the headquarters, or any designated higher authority in other locations,” the electoral Commission warned.
It will not be a stroll through the park for contractors as the Commission insisted that: “Under no circumstances shall visitors or contractors be allowed into the commission except on authorized invitation by the Commission.
“Visitors’ books must be maintained at each entry point and all floors, with contact details of all visitors. Wearing of identification cards and tags shall be strictly enforced. Invitation regarding entry by visitors and contractors should be communicated to the main gate through a dedicated phone line. Congregational prayers in the Mosque and Chapel are prohibited for the time being,” It warned. Earlier last week, the Commission had instructed that; “all staff above age 58 with underlying medical conditions (hypertension, diabetes, asthma, renal and hepatic diseases,) should work from home.
“Other staff with underlying medical conditions should also work from home. Pregnant and Nursing mothers should also work from home. Stakeholder meetings should be conducted in line with guidelines on meetings above.”