The Federal High Court, Abuja, sitting on Tuesday, refused to direct the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to resume the continuous voter’s registration (CVR) exercise.
The judge, Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment, said he could not make such an order with the 2023 general election in “just a few days”.
The judge, however, declared that INEC “is expected to continue voter’s registration, update and revision of voters register until 90 days before the General Election billed to take place on 25 February and 11 March.”
“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 elections scheduled to take place on 25th February, 2023 and 11th March, 2023,” the judge said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 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.
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According to Mr Ekwo, “this court is unable to grant relief number 3 of the plaintiffs because going by the date of this judgment, from the date of this judgment, the defendant will have just a few days away from 90 days before the general elections of 25th February, 2023 and 11th March, 2023.”
The plaintiffs had prayed the court for three reliefs which include “a declaration that the defendant is expected pursuant to the provisions of Sections 76 (2), 77 (2), 116 (2), 117 (2), 132 (2) & (5) and 178 (2) & (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 till 90 days before the general election.
NAN reports that INEC, in its argument, had said that it ended the CVR exercise at the time it did because it needed to end the exercise so that the permanent voters’ cards (PVCs) could be printed in good time, and the distribution of the same could commence in earnest. (NAN)