Why prisoners can't vote in Nigeria yet

Apr 8 2015 - 9:55pm
Calabar Prison: No voting plan for inmates yet

Calabar Prison: No voting plan for inmates yet

The Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS) on Wednesday said the absence of polling units within prison facilities nationwide was one of the reasons why prison inmates cannot vote.

Mr Francis Enobore, the Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS), gave the explanation in Lagos during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Enobore, a Deputy Controller of Prisons (DCP), told NAN that inmates had the right to vote but logistic challenges makes it difficult for them to do so.

He said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had not designated polling units in the prisons in spite of a court judgment which said that the inmates were eligible.

He said that a judgment delivered by Justice Mohammed Suleiman of the Federal High Court, Benin, in December 2014 said inmates had the right to vote.

Enobore said in the future NPS and INEC authorities would collaborate to carry out the court’s position.

“The order was passed to INEC butto actualise it takes a lot of process and logistics,’’ he said.

Enobore said during voter registration no prison yard was designated as a registration centre.

“For them to vote, you have to create a centre in the prisons for registration and for voting.

“To arrange the logistics from where they are serving to where they will vote outside the prison is near impossible for now considering that some of them are hardened criminals.

“To safely guard them and produce a conducive environment for them to vote without jeopardising the process is necessary,’’ he said.

Enobore said that it was also possible that some of the inmates could have registered before being taken into custody.

“INEC will work with the prison authorities to have a registration centre and a particular prison yard designated as a polling unit in the future,’’ he said.

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