The Nigeria Prisons Services has cited the absence of polling units as one of the challenges making it difficult for inmates to vote during general elections.
Francis Enobore, public relations officer, Nigeria Prisons Service, gave the explanation in an interview in Lagos.
Enobore,who is also a deputy controller of Prisons, said the inmates have the right to participate in elections but that the necessary logistics had not been put in place.
He added that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has not designated polling units in the prisons in spite of a court judgment which said that the inmates were eligible.
He said a court judgment delivered by Justice Mohammed Suleiman of the Federal High Court, Benin, had in December 2014, allowed inmates the right to vote in elections.
Noting that the judgment had not been implemented, the prisons spokesman said that “in the coming years, the INEC and the prison authorities will collaborate to actualize the order.
“The order was passed to INEC but for many reasons, to actualize it takes a lot of process and logistics,” he said.
Enobore noted that during the registration for elections, no prison was designated a polling unit. “For them to vote, you have to create a centre in the prisons for registration and for voting. To arrange the logistics from where they are serving to where they will vote outside the prison is near impossible for now, considering that some of them are hardened criminals.
“To safely guard them and produce a conducive environment for them to vote
without jeopardising the process is necessary,” he said.
Enobore added that it is also possible that some of the inmates could have registered before being taken into custody, while others had not registered at all.
He assured that prison authorities will work with INEC to have a registration centre and a particular prison yard designated as a polling unit for them.
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