A Court of Appeal sitting in Benin City, the Edo State capital has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure inmates are included on the National Voters’ Register.
Justice Samuel Oseji gave the directive on Friday while delivering a judgment in an appeal brought to the court by four inmates at the Benin Prisons for themselves and on behalf of other inmates across the country.
He held that the court agreed with seven other prayers by the applicants which were earlier granted in the matter by Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court in Benin City in December 2014.
Among the issues brought for determination by the applicants when the case first commenced in 2014 was whether the plaintiffs are not entitled to be registered as voters by the first defendant which is INEC.
They based their argument on the provisions of section 25 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended in 2011, and section 12 sub-section 1 of the Electoral Act 2010.
Justice Oseji then ordered INEC to liaise with the Nigerian Prisons Service in order to update and include the names of inmates on the voters’ register.
He explained that this was necessary to ensure that the inmates can exercise their franchise in the coming general elections and subsequent ones, as enshrined in the Constitution.
Addressing reporters after the judgment, counsel to the applicants President Aigbokhan commended the ruling of the court.
He said Nigeria has become the second country in the continent, after South Africa to allow inmates vote during elections.
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