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Friday, January 14, 2011

Prisoners can register to vote

Prisoners can register to vote

By Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji

January 14, 2011 03:22AM


Martins Okunfolam, Ogun INEC resident commissioner. Photo: DIMEJI KAYODE-ADEDEJI

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday said prisoners are eligible to vote in the forthcoming elections, as long as the prisons authorities make provisions that will bring them out to participate in the voters registration exercise scheduled to hold between January 15-29, 2011 across the country.

The Ogun State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Martins Okunfolami, made this known yesterday at the stakeholders meeting held at the Oke-Mosan headquarters of the commission in Abeokuta, the state capital.

The commission had organised the meeting alongside a road show across the state capital and environs, to enlighten the public on the need for residents who are 18 years and above to register before the elections.

"The prisoners can get registered if the authorities of the prisons can lead them to the registration centres, because they are and remain Nigerians," Mr. Okunfolami said at the meeting, just as he also disclosed that the commission has so far taken delivery of 2,510 Direct Data Capturing (DDC) machines.

Cooperative prisons

The state Superintendent of Prisons, Peter Obamuyiwa, who corroborated the INEC official's statement, said prison inmates who are found eligible to vote will be taken out for the registration exercise, provided the commission give booths close to prisons.

The INEC Commissioner said the remaining 941 Direct Data Capturing (DDC) machines will be received before the commencement of the exercise, in some 3,210 booths across the state.

"I can assure you that we are going to take delivery of the remaining before the exercise commences," the INEC boss said.

Mr. Okunfolami said the commission is going to make use of 6,420 members of the National Youth Service Corps as Ad-hoc staff for the exercise, adding that all the DDC Machines have been coded and configured to avoid fraud.

"Let me state this, it is done in a way that when it is 5pm everyday, the machine will automatically stop work for the day," he said, explaining that the exercise is scheduled to hold between 8am-5pm daily.

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