It was clearly spelt out yesterday by Justice Mohammed Lima of the Federal High Court in Benin, Edo State, who made it to stand out that the prison bars has some limitations when it comes to what it could prevent the inmates from doing. He ruled that inmates of all prisons across Nigeria have the right to vote in all elections conducted in the country.
The suit was filed by Victor Emenuwe, Onome Inaye, Kabiru Abu, Osagie Iyekepolor, Modugu Odion (for and on behalf of inmates of Nigeria Prisons) against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Prisons Service.
The plaintiffs had in an amended Originating Summons, asked the court to determine "whether having regards to the provisions of section 25 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended in 2011, and section 12 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010, the plaintiffs are not entitled to be registered as voters by the first Defendants."
The issue which now stands out is that, Nigerian inmates can now exercise their civic duties by voting for any elections conducted in Nigeria.
Ruling on judgement, Justice Lima declared in his judgement that "any act by the 1st Defendant to deny inmates the right to vote is unconstitutional, illegal, irregular, unlawful, null, and void and of no effect whatsoever; that the Defendants do not have the constitutional right to deny the claimants their voting rights; that being an inmate is not an offense that impedes their registration and voting right under section 24 of the electoral Act; and that the exclusion of inmates in elections conducted in Nigeria is illegal, ultra vires and null and void"