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Some prisoners will vote in 2019 elections, says INEC

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Certain categories of prison inmates whose crimes did not disenfranchise them will be allowed to vote in the 2019 general election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said.

Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman, disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday during a session tagged ‘Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room Dialogue’.

He said the Commission was already considering creating polling units in Nigerian prisons to give some categories of prisoners the opportunity to vote.

This followed ruling three years ago by a Federal High Court in Benin, Edo State, that prisoners have the right to vote in all elections conducted in the country.

Yakubu explained that only “certain categories of prisoners” would be given such an opportunity, depending on the nature of the crimes committed.

“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,” he said.

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“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.”

In December 2016, Prisoners in Nwasam Medium Prison,Ghana, voted in the December 7 election.

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