INEC to allow inmates exercise voting rights – Commissioner | Dailytrust

INEC to allow inmates exercise voting rights – Commissioner

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has expressed willingness to allow inmates to participate in electoral activities.

Dr Adekunle Ogunmola, the National Commissioner of INEC’s Outreach and Participation Committee (OPC), disclosed this when he hosted the Executive Director of CAPIO, Rev. Fr Jude Isiguzo, who led his team on an advocacy visit to the INEC headquarters on Wednesday.

Fr Isiguzo had, through the Pollrite 23 project, called for the enforcement of the voting rights of Nigerian inmates, especially with the 2023 general election fast approaching.

However, Dr Ogunmola, who represented the INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, at the meeting, said: “It’s like you are preaching to the converted because the commission has tried to do something in that direction in the past.”

He said this same issue has been raised on some occasions during INEC’s engagements with the security agencies, adding that: “I remembered that the response of the Chairman is always that there would be a need for further interaction with the correctional services so as to be able to determine the modus operand of achieving that.”

“I want to say that your aim of ensuring that the rights of inmates are protected, at least with regards to participation in the electoral process is something that is part of the vision of the commission because in the strategic plan of the commission in 2022 to 2026, there is an amendment to the vision and that is inclusivity.

“Well, we have always maintained that we want to give Nigerians free, fair and credible election but we are now changing it to include inclusive election.

“I want to assure you that this visit will spur the commission to ensure that action is taken in this direction.

He said there were some legal incumbrances but assured that the commission would find a way around it.

Earlier, Rev Fr Isiguzo said the Pollrite 23 project is being funded by Voice which is a part of the Dialogue and Dissent agenda of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs aimed at strengthening the lobby and advocacy capacity of civil society organisations and representatives of the most marginalised and discriminated groups.

He said the project is working with stakeholders, especially INEC, to create an electoral framework for inmates which will set the ground for elections to hold in custodial centres.

According to him, the framework would provide for access to electoral resources, including registration/card collection points, polling units, INEC help desks), voter education activities for inmates and wardens and other logistical requirements.

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