By Gbenga Gbelee
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says selected inmates in Nigerian prisons will be allowed to vote during the 2019 general election.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu stated this in Abuja during a dialogue session with the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room Dialogue being a coalition of over 70 Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria.
This is coming three years after a Federal High Court held that it was the right of Nigerian prisoners to vote in all elections in the country
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 but the ruling is yet to be implemented since its delivery.
But Prof. Yakubu 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 exercise their franchise during the polls.
He explained that the nature of crimes an inmate committed will determine whether the inmate will be allowed to vote or not.
Efforts to ensure a smooth integration of the prison inmates into the voting population according to the INEC boss include ongoing consultation with the Comptroller-General of Prisons to ascertain the number of prisoners nationwide and the number of inmates that are registered for voting.
He placed it on record that Ghana has successfully integrated some categories of prisoners into its voting population while some inmates are excluded due to the nature of crimes committed.
On the coming November 18 Anambra State Governorship Election, Prof. 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, Mr. Clement Nwankwo explained that 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.