By Khadijah Abdulrazak
A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, declined to direct the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to resume the continuous voter’s registration (CVR) exercise.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgement, held that going by the date of the verdict, INEC would have had “just a few days away from 90 days before the general election.
Justice Ekwo, however, declared that INEC “is expected pursuant to the provisions of Sections 76 (2), 77 (2), 116 (2), 117 (2), 132 (2) & (5) and 178 (2) and (5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) as well as Sections 9 (1), 9 (6), 10 (1) and 12 (1) of the Electoral Acts, 2022, to continue voters registration, update and revision of voters register until 90 days before the General Election billed to take place on February 25 and March 11.
“It is the constitutional responsibility of the defendant (INEC) to make sure that every prospective Nigeria voter who have shown desire to register to vote are not deprived, their civil right to register and participate in the forthcoming general election scheduled to take place on 25th February, 2023 and 11th March, 2023.”
According to Justice Ekwo, “This court is unable to grant relief number 3 of the plaintiffs because going by the date of this judgement, from the date of this judgement, the defendant will have just a few days away from 90 days before the general election of 25th February, 2023 and 11th March, 2023.”
Four plaintiffs: Anajat Salmat, Mr. Earnest Stanley, Chief Charles Okafor and Mr. Samuel Oluwakemi had sued INEC for discontinued the voter registration exercise on July 31.
INEC was the sole defendant in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1343/2022.
The plaintiffs had prayed the court for three reliefs which include “An order of court directing the defendant to resume immediately the registration of new voters, updating and revision of the register of voters until at least 90 days to the general election slated to hold on 5th February, 2023 and 11th March, 2023.”
Delivering the judgement, the judge said: “The case of the plaintiffs therefore succeeds on the merit and I answer their sole question in the negative.
“I also answer the questions of the defendant as follows:
“Question 1, partially in the positive, and Question 2, in the positive.”