The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that plans are already underway to ensure that prison inmates can start exercising their voting right in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.
As a result of this, the electoral body is making arrangements with prison authorities on the possibility of creating polling units in Nigerian prisons to allow some categories of inmates vote.
INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, made this known on Tuesday in Abuja at a dialogue session tagged Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room Dialogue.
He, however, maintained that only “certain categories of prisoners” would be given such an opportunity depending on the nature of the crimes committed.
His words: “We have already engaged the Comptroller-General of Prisons and we have statistics on the number of prisoners nationwide and the number of inmates 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.”
The development is coming three years after a Federal High Court in Benin, Edo State, had held that prisoners in Nigeria have the right to vote in all elections conducted in the country.