‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Abuja


DAILY COURIER – The Nigerian Correctional Service NCoS has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC to extend voting rights to inmates in its custodial centres.

Controller General of Corrections, Haliru Nababa who was represented by ACG Daniel Odharo, made the request when he led his management team on a courtesy visit to the Commission Tuesday in Abuja.

Responding, INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu said the commission is committed to inclusivity including the rights of immates to vote during elections as it is being done in some parts of Africa.

He said, “Something like that is happening in our continent. Two countries, Kenya and South Africa, have extended that right”.

Prof Yakubu said the request by the Nigerian Correctional Service to extend voting right to inmates of the correctional service is agreeable in principle, as INEC has no issues with it.

Yakubu raised a few concerns for the request to be practicable, some of which are:

“Will inmates vote outside the prison or inside the prison? Are we going to set-up polling units inside the prison or will the polling units outside? We believe that some of them are already registered voters. The majority of them are actually awaiting trial, so they may not be registered voters. If they are registered voters, what they will do is to transfer their registration. Will they transfer their registration to the correctional centres?”

“Will political parties be allowed to campaign inside the correctional centres? This a matter that you need to advise the Commission. Will observers and media be allowed access to the correctional centres on Election Day? Will INEC officials be granted access to the correctional centres for voter education?This a matter that we need to discuss”, he added.