2015: Court grants prisoners right to vote
Justice Lima Mohammed, a Federal High Court judge, has ruled that any acts to deny inmates the right to vote was unconstitutional, illegal, irregular, unlawful, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
The ruling followed a suit filed by five inmates - Victor Emenuwe, Onome Inaye, Kabiru Abu, Osagie Iyekepolor and Modugu Odin (for and on behalf of inmates of Nigeria Prisons).
Defendants in the suit are - the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Controller-General of Nigeria Prisons Service.
In the suit, the Plaintiffs had sought for a determination on '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, they were not entitled to be registered as voters by the 1st Defendants.'
The Plaintiffs also requested the court to determine whether they were not entitled to cast their votes at any election having regard to the provisions of Section 77 (2) â€Žof the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and Section 12 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010.
They asked the court to determine whether the failure of the 1st Defendant to make registration and voting provisions for the inmates in the custody of the 2nd Defendant does not constitute an infringement on their rights as citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as enshrined in section 14 (1) (2) (a) (b), section 17 (2) (a), section 24 (b), (c), section 39 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Article 13 (1) and Article 20 (1) of the African Charter on Human and People's Rights.
Justice Lima, who ruled that inmates in Nigeria have the right to vote in all elections conducted in the country, directed the Defendants to ensure that the applicants are not disenfranchised.