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NGO launches project to enforce inmates’ voting rights

A Non-Governmental Organisation, Carmelite Prisoners’ Interest Organisation (CAPIO), is launching a project, titled Pollrite 23, which will help enforce the electoral rights of inmates in…

A Non-Governmental Organisation, Carmelite Prisoners’ Interest Organisation (CAPIO), is launching a project, titled Pollrite 23, which will help enforce the electoral rights of inmates in Nigeria.

The Executive Director of CAPIO, Rev. Fr Jude Isiguzo, disclosed this when he led his team to brief the Controller-General of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), Haliru Nababa, about the project on Thursday.

Rev. Fr Isiguzo said the 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.

According to him, the Pollrite 23 project will be piloted in three states of Enugu, Lagos and Abuja.

“The Pollrite 23 project aims to facilitate civic engagement among communities with low voters’ turnout, including inmates in Nigeria, which will help enforce the electoral right of inmates, create awareness, and an enabling environment for inmates to vote.

“The project will enable stakeholders to create an electoral framework for inmates which will set the ground for elections to hold in custodial centres.

“The framework will ensure access to electoral resources, (including registration/card collection points, polling units, INEC helpdesks), voter education activities for inmates and wardens and other logistic requirements,” he said.

While recalling that a Federal High Court in Benin, Edo State had, in 2014, upheld the rights of inmates to vote, he however lamented that the inmates in Nigeria were still being denied their voting rights.

“But this can change with your collaboration alongside other relevant government agencies including the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Federal Ministry of Interior, the Presidency and the Nigerian Correctional Service,” Rev. Fr Isiguzo noted.

While responding, the Controller-General of NCoS acknowledged the numerous interventions of CAPIO which have improved the wellbeing of inmates in the country.

He, therefore, expressed the Service’s readiness to work with the NGO to ensure the success of the project.

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