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INEC Speaks About Prisoners Voting in 2023 Elections

INEC Speaks About Prisoners Voting in 2023 Elections

The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) has appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to extend voting rights to prison inmates.Information Guide Nigeria

This appeal was made by the comptroller-general of the NCoS, Haliru Nababa when he led management of the service on a visit to the INEC headquarters in Abuja.

PEOPLES GAZETTE reports that Mr Nababa who was represented by assistant comptroller-general Daniel Odharo said the meeting was to ensure both parties work together to ensure inmates vote in the 2023 elections in line with recent court ruling.

Mr Nababa said, “The court recently gave a judgment in favour of inmates voting in elections. The modalities to meet the process needs to be worked out and so we need to be here to discuss with INEC to find out how this process can be achieved.”

Responding to this, INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu said, “Let me start with the legal framework. Section 12(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 lists five qualifications for registration as a voter in Nigeria because you have to register as a voter before the right to exercise that right as a voter is conferred. Number one, the prospective registrant must be a Nigerian citizen.”

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According to PEOPLES GAZETTE, Yakubu further explained. “Number two, he or she must be 18 at least. Number three, he or she must originate, reside or work in the local government or ward covered by the registration center or the point of registration.

“Number four that citizens of Nigeria must present himself or herself to the registration officer for registration as a voter. Number five, which is really critical to our discussion today is that he or she must not be subject to any legal incapacity to vote under any law, rule, or regulation imposed in Nigeria. So this is one area that we need to discuss so that we know the categories of inmates that will exercise the right to vote.”

Mr Yakubu stressed that INEC would want to maintain transparency in its process “because everything that we do in the commission, particularly when it comes to the rights of citizens to vote, must be done transparently.”

As reported by PEOPLES GAZETTE, he raised the following issues, “If they are registered voters, they can’t be registered. What they will do is transfer their registration. Will they transfer their registration to the correctional centres for that reason? Will political parties be allowed to campaign inside the correctional centres? This is a matter that we need to advise the commission.Jamb Result

“Will observers and the media be allowed access to the correctional centres on election day so that the process is really transparent? Will INEC officials be granted access to the correctional centres for voter education? This is a matter that we need to discuss.”

“Or there are some correctional centres where this process can start instead of over 218. We understand that some of the correctional centers are not holding inmates at present. So will the process be allowed to cover all the 218 centres?

“So these are some of the issues that we need to carefully discuss and resolve before a decision is taken.”

(NAN)

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Idongesit Akpa-Ayang

Idongesit is a graduate of Communication Arts, University of Uyo. Currently working as a news reporter at InfoGuide Nigeria.

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