By Hafsat Abdullahi and Grace Danjuma
The Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed in Abuja its plans with the Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS) to ensure that the votes of the prisoners count in the 2019 general elections.
The chairman of the commission, Mahmood Yakubu made this known yesterday at the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room Dialogue session.
He said that the commission considered creating polling units in prisons to give some prisoners the opportunity to vote as a result of the ruling of a Federal High Court in Benin, Edo state which stated that prisoners in Nigeria had the right to vote in all elections conducted in the country.
Yakubu further explained that not all prisoners will be allowed to vote but a certain categories of prisoners depending on the nature of the crimes they committed will vote during election.
“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, 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”, he added.
The chairman had said that the commission will do everything to ensure that the Anambra governorship election is not rigged, even as he further expressed his grievance with the wrong alteration of some of the governorship candidates by two political parties ahead of the upcoming 2019 elections.