Prison Authority seeks voting right for inmates

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Authorities of Nigeria Prison Service ( NPS ), yesterday in Kano, made a passionate appeal to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to re-structure voting system, so as to accommodate prison inmates to also exercise their civic responsibility.

The Comptroller, NPS, Kano Command, Alhaji Ahmed A. Magaji, who made the appeal said, they will like to partner, with INEC to fashion out a template that will allow those detained in prison custody to also  cast their votes.

The prison boss, who spoke at the state Command headquarters of the service,  during a courtesy visit by the newly assigned Resident Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC Kano, Professor Riskuwa Arabu Shehu, said, inmates are Nigerians, and should be accorded the right to determine those, who govern them.

He however flawed the current arrangement, which prevents those behind bars from casting their votes, adding that NPS authorities will be glad,: “if those in prison will be allowed to cast their votes.”

Magaji noted that as a security organ, it is committed to collaborating, with all stakeholders to ensure  the conduct of credible, free and fair elections.

Responding, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, INEC, Kano, Professor Riskuwa Arabu Shehu, said, prison inmates cannot be allowed to vote, explaining that, the inmates registered at various centres, and their freedom is restricted, “they cannot be released from custody to proceed to where they registered to cast their votes,” Riskuwa said.

He said, INEC is considering various voting options, adding that, when the existing electoral Act is repealed and electronic voting is legalized, this, he said will pave the way for  prison inmates to discharge their civic rights, including those in Diaspora.

On a final note, Riskuwa urged security agencies to collaborate with INEC, so as to secure lives and properties, prior, during and after the elections.

Source: The Nation


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