The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has intensified efforts towards ensuring the rights of prison inmates to vote in the forthcoming general elections in Nigeria.
Underaged prison inmates at the Badagry prisons in Lagos State The electoral body is making arrangements with the Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS) to ensure that prisoners are allowed to vote in the 2019 general elections.
The Secretary of INEC in Kebbi State, Alhaji Bello Magaji Isah made the disclosure during a visit to Controller of Prison in Kebbi State, Mallam Sani Adamu Potiskum in Kebbi.
The Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu had last year announced to the delight of Nigerians that his commission was making arrangements with the Nigerian Prisons Service to allow some classes of prisoners to vote in the next general elections scheduled for 2019.
During his visit to Prisons Office in Kebbi, the state INEC boss Alhaji Isah said there is a need for effective synergy among critical stakeholders in creating public awareness on inmates voting rights towards ensuring participations of eligible Nigerians to exercise their franchise.
Isah said: “I am here to lets you know that the INEC is working on the possibility of creating polling units in Nigerian prisons to allow some categories of inmates to vote.
“The essence is to capture as many eligible voters to participate in the election since voters’ education and sensitisation are very essential in this regard.
“We also consider the feasibility of inmates in custody and the plight of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) and People in Diaspora to Vote in elections.”
The state INEC boss also disclosed that the commission is collaborating with other stakeholders to ensure all eligible citizens in Kebbi state exercised their Voting Rights.
In his remarks, the Controller of Prisons Kebbi State, Mallam Potiskum said the Controller-General of Prisons, Ja’afaru Ahmed’s had instructed all controllers of Prison throughout the federation to provide maximum supports to INEC an other agencies of government on their statutory mandates.
Potiskum said: “We have been instructed by the Controller General, Ja’afaru Ahmed to provide all necessary supports in ensuring that you succeed on your campaign on Inmates’ rights to vote even though they lack rights to be voted.
“We are ever ready to assist the commission in conducting secure, free and fair elections and to ensure the rights of inmates in custody are not disenfranchised.”