Senate to INEC: Allow prisoners to vote during elections
The upper chamber of the National Assembly has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow duly registered and eligible prison-electorate to exercise their franchise during general elections in the country.
The senate implored the electoral umpire to determine the status of the inmates that are constitutionally and legally qualified to be registered as eligible voters and should vote at elections.
The Red Chamber also requested INEC and relevant agencies to update the register of voters to take into account the prison population for the purpose of elections.
The Senate also urged the commission, in collaboration with the Nigeria Correctional Service, to locate voting centres at custodial centres across the country to be used for voting.
These followed a motion sponsored by Senator Patrick Abba Moro (Benue South), who noted that citizenship, as encapsulated in the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended), comes with many defined rights and civic responsibilities, one of which is the right to vote in general elections.
The lawmaker noted that being a prison inmate is not an impediment to the prisoners’ registration and voting rights as enshrined under Section 24 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
He added that denying prison inmates access to the electoral process constitutes an infringement of their rights as citizens of Nigeria as provided under Section 25 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) which confirms the definition of who a citizen is as well as Section 12(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 (as amended) which spells out who qualifies to vote.
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