Pollrite23 | Building Synergy for Inmates' Voting Rights in Nigeria

INTRODUCTION: Pollrite23 stakeholders planning meeting, held in National Human Rights Commission auditorium Abuja, on the 22nd of October 2021. Representatives of the various organizations  gathered at the auditorium to share ideas on how best the project could be implemented. The meeting kicked off with an opening prayer and the introduction of all participants. Rev. Fr. Jude Isiguzo gave a brief summary of CAPIO. He talked about the origin of CAPIO and mentioned some of the projects CAPIO has implemented over the years.

Voting rights for inmates in Nigeria and the Pollrite23 Project. 

Fr. Ambrose Ekeroku, proceeded to discuss the voting rights for inmates in Nigeria. He told a story of Victor and three other inmates who went to court to demand for their voting rights. The High Court in Benin delivered justice in their favour, but only allowed the four inmates that went to court to vote. The four inmates appealed the case because the fight was for all inmates and not just for them. The Appeal Court, gave justice in their favour. The court however, did not mandate INEC to create polling units for the inmates. However, INEC started to work with the NCoS to ensure that inmates vote in the 2019 General Elections. However this did not materialize. 

CAPIO, decided to work on this project to ensure inmates vote in 2023 General Elections. Fr. Ambrose said Custodial Centres are the safest place for INEC to set up polling units. This is because there will be no incidence of ballot box snatching and it will be impossible for numbers to be manipulated, because the number of inmates in custody is known. CAPIO, also decided to implement this project because of the living conditions of inmates in some Custodial Centres. The condition of some of the facilities is dehumanizing because there has been a disconnect between the average person and the Custodial Centres. If politicians are forced to go to the Custodial Centres to campaign, they will make promises that will lead to making the facilities better. 

The representatives of the following organizations presented Good will messages: 

  1. Voice
  2. Federal Ministry of Interior
  3. Nigerian Correctional Service
  4. National Orientation Agency
  5. Federal Ministry of Justice 

The Project's activities and timelines were discussed and the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder. The planning meeting was very engaging and every stakeholder pledged to do their part to ensure the success of the project. 





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