Nigerians drag INEC to court over voter registration

Nigerians have sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for failing to provide them and other Nigerians sufficient time to finish their voter registration after online capturing.

The 24 plaintiffs include Adeeyo Bayo Wasiu; Kunat Tychius Amos; Tagbo Philips Chidubem; Emeghe Uchanma Grace; Ayoola Opeyemi Ebenezer; Eche Onah Otakpa; Olatoye Clement Damilola and Ogunejiofor Raphael Emeka.

Others are Adedotun Adegoke Babatunde; Emmanuel Promise Tochukwu; Emmanuel Ternajev; Joy Oluwadamilola Ige; Lawrence Ignatius; Agbede Kunle; Eze Daniel Ndubisi and Nkemdilim Agbor Bassey.

The rest are of Omoike Iredia Oseine; Joshua Patrick Oghenekaro; Wisdom Emeka; Ukpe Victor Destiny; Abayomi Opeoluwa; Ndubuisi Anthony Ahanihu; Akande Akintunde and Adamma Rhodes.

The claimants, who are suing for themselves and on behalf of other Nigerians, want to finalize the registration process so that they can obtain their permanent voter cards (PVCs) and exercise their right to vote.

Nexus News recalls that INEC recently announced that out of 10,487,972 Nigerians, who carried out their pre-registration online, only 3,444,378 completed the exercise at a physical centre. This represents just 32.8 per cent of completed online registration.

However, in the suit numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/1662/2022 and filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, over the weekend, the plaintiffs are seeking an order of mandamus to oblige the electoral commission to re-activate its continuous voter registration exercise to allow them complete their registration and pick up their PVCs.

The claimants are also seeking an order of mandamus to direct INEC to provide adequate facilities and deploy personnel to the registration units of the plaintiffs .

The plaintiffs are claiming that: “We have completed the online registration exercise. Denying us the time and opportunity to complete the registration for our PVCs would impair our right to vote, and deny us a voice in the 2023 elections.”

Also, they contended that the inability to complete the registration is entirely due to factors outside of their control.

“We are eligible Nigerians, but unless we are given a reasonable time and opportunity to complete the registration process and obtain our voter cards, we will not be able to vote in the 2023 general elections,” the agitated Nigerians added.

In the suit filed on their behalf by lawyers to Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Kolawole Oluwadare and Adelanke Aremo, the plaintiffs said the severe vote deprivation cannot be justified by any perceived considerations of saving time, especially because Section 9 (6) of the Electoral Act 2022 provides that ‘the registration of voters, updating and revision of the voter register “shall not stop later than 90 days before any election covered by this Act.

“Providing fresh opportunity for the plaintiffs and seven million other Nigerians to complete their registration would promote and preserve the right to vote and ensure that legal and eligible voters are not inadvertently and unjustifiably turned away from exercising their fundamental right to vote,” the attorneys observed.

However, no date has been scheduled  for hearing of the law suit.

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