Appeal Court: Nigerian Prisoners Have A Right To Vote During Elections



A Court of Appeal sitting in Benin City, Edo State, has ruled in favour of prisoners voting during the election.

The ruling was announced on Friday after five prisoners filed a suit asking the court to direct the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to include all prisoners in the voter register.

Delivering the lead judgment, Justice S. Oseji, behalf of Justice Helen Ogunwumiju ruled in favour of the prisoners, who instituted the case on behalf of other inmates in Nigerian prisons.

According to NAN, those that filed the appeal are Victor Emenuwe, Onome Inaye, Kabiru Abu, Osagie Iyekekpolor and Modugu Odion.

However, Oseji did not grant a declaration that INEC liaise with the Nigeria Prison Service to create a registration centre at various prisons across the country.

Speaking to newsmen after the judgment, Counsel to the appellant, President Aigbokhan of the Initiative for Rural Development, Information and Legal Advocacy (IRDILA), urged INEC to commence immediate registration of inmates across the country to enable them participate in the 2019 general election.

Noting that they would appeal certain aspects of the judgment, he said: “Prison inmates have their community. Polling units should be located there. We believe they have a right to vote in an election so as to decide those who ultimately decide their future.

“When franchise is given to them, attention will be focused there. Their situation and health conditions will be improved.

“In 2014, the Federal High Court granted our prayers that prisoners can vote but narrowed it to the four applicants in the suit even though it was stated there that those applicants were representing other inmates.

“We went to the Court of Appeal and the court agreed that the judgement represented all inmates in the country. That INEC should with immediate effect collate the names of inmates and allow them to vote in 2019.

“The judgment disagreed that INEC should create polling units inside the prison. In 2015, the inmates were over 550,000. All INEC needs to do is to update their voter register and liaise with NGO as volunteers to help them. It is victory for Nigeria’s democracy.”

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SOURCE :sahara reporters (news)

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