The INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Abubakar, made this disclosure in Abuja on Tuesday. He explained that the commission is currently making arrangement with the Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS) to make sure that some prisoners across the country are allowed to vote in the 2019 general elections.
This is coming 3 years after a Federal High Court held that it was the right of Nigerian prisoners to vote in all elections in the country, the Independent National Electoral Commission, has hinted that they will be allowed to vote in 2019.
Yakubu stated this during a dialogue session with the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room Dialogue – a coalition of over 70 civil society organisations in Nigeria.
A Federal High Court in Benin, the Edo State capital had three years ago ruled that prisoners in Nigeria had the right to vote in all elections conducted in the country. The ruling was never heeded to since it was made.
But Abubakar during the event in Abuja on Tuesday hinted that INEC is working out a possible means of having polling units in Nigerian prisons to give room to some categories of inmates to vote.
He explained that the nature of crimes an inmate committed will decide whether the inmate will be allowed to vote or not.
“We have already engaged the Controller-General of Prisons and we have statistics on the number of prisoners nationwide and the number of inmates that are registered. We are looking at the possibility of creating polling units in the prisons and to enable some categories of prisoners to vote.
“Ghana does it but there are some categories of prisoners who by the nature of crimes committed lose the right to vote. Whatever we can do to open up the process to ensure that as much as possible Nigerians are given the opportunity to vote, will be done,” he said.
On the coming November 18 Anambra State governorship election, Yakubu said that INEC would do everything possible to ensure the election is not inconclusive.
Speaking on the reason for the event, the Executive Director, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, and convener of Situation Room, Clement Nwankwo, explained his group set up the meeting so that it can find out the extent of INEC’s preparedness for the forthcoming election in Anambra and other electoral issues.
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