Prisoners have right to vote, Appeal Court rules


The Court of Appeal sitting in Benin, Edo state, has affirmed the right of inmates across the country to vote.



The decision of the court followed an appeal filed by five inmates on behalf of other inmates in Nigerian prisons to direct the Independent National Electoral Commission to include their names in the voter register.



The court, however, refused to grant a request that INEC should liaise with the Nigerian Prisons Service to create registration centres at various prisons across the country.



The names of the appellants are Victor Emenuwe, Onome Inaye, Kabiru Abu, Osagie Iyekekpolor and Modugu Odion.



Justice S. Oseji, who read the lead judgment, said the appellants could appeal the other side of the ruling not granted.



Counsel for the appellants, President Aigbokhan, of the Initiative for Rural Development, Information and Legal Advocacy, described the judgment as victory for Nigeria’s democracy.



He, however, urged INEC to commence immediate registration of inmates across the country to enable them to participate in the 2019 general elections.



Aigbokhan said they would appeal the court’s rejection of their request for INEC to liaise with the Nigerian Prisons Service to create registration centres at various prisons across the country.



He said, “We went to the Court of Appeal and the court agreed that the judgment represent all inmates in the country. That INEC should with immediate effect collate the names of inmates and allow them to vote in 2019.
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