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7m Nigerians Drag INEC To Court Over Failure To Allow Them Complete Voter Registration

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Twenty-four Nigerians have filed a lawsuit against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for “failing to give them and other seven million Nigerians adequate time and opportunity to complete their voter registration after they have carried out their registration online.”

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

INEC recently disclosed that out of 10,487,972 Nigerians who carried out their pre-registration online, only 3,444,378 completed the process at a physical centre. This represents just 32.8 percent of completed online registration.

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But in the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1662/2022 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Abuja, the Plaintiffs are seeking “an order of mandamus to direct and compel INEC to re-activate its continuous voters registration exercise to allow the Plaintiffs to complete their registration and collect their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs).”

The Plaintiffs are also seeking “an order of mandamus to direct and compel INEC to provide adequate facilities and deploy personnel to the registration units of the Plaintiffs to enable them complete their registration and collect their PVCs.”

READ ALSO: Insecurity: INEC Shuts CVR Operations In Four Anambra LGAs

The Plaintiffs are arguing 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.”

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The Plaintiffs are also arguing that, “The inability to complete our registration is entirely due to factors outside of our 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 twenty-four Nigerians 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 include: Adedotun Adegoke Babatunde; Emmanuel Promise Tochukwu; Emmanuel Ternajev; Joy Oluwadamilola Ige; Lawerence Ignatius; Agbede Kunle; Eze Daniel Ndubisi; and Nkemdilim Agbor Bassey.

Others are: Omoike Iredia Oseine; Joshua Patrick Ogenekaro; Wisdom Emeka; Ukpe Victor Destiny; Abayomi Opeoluwa; Ndubuisi Anthony Ahanihu; Akande Akintunde O; and Adamma Rhodes.

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The suit filed on behalf of the Plaintiffs by lawyers to Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Kolawole Oluwadare and Ms Adelanke Aremo, read in part: “Closing the gates on eligible Nigerians cannot preserve trust in the electoral process.”

“According to reports, the inability of Nigerians to complete their voters registration exercise or even transfer their permanent voters’ card, affected wide spectrums of persons, hence this class action by the identified plaintiffs on behalf of other affected Nigerians.”

“There were reports of incidence of bribery, unethical conducts of INEC staff, registration process marred by irregularities, insufficient machines, malfunctioning of machines, insufficient staff and unskilled staff, before the defendant ended the Continuous Voters Registration Exercise on the 31st July, 2022.”

The right to vote is not merely the right to cast a ballot but also the right to be given the time and opportunity to complete the registration process, so that the right can be meaningfully and effectively exercised.”

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READ ALSO: INEC Provides CVR Update, Reveals Physical Registration Date

“Any proffered justifications of saving time and cost are therefore wholly insufficient. Administrative convenience is simply not a compelling justification in light of the fundamental nature of the right to vote.”

“This 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 Register of Voters shall not stop not 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.”

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“The Plaintiffs are Nigerians who commenced the voters registration exercises in their respective states via successful online enrolment at the respective dates but could not complete the registration process, and obtain their voters cards.”

“The plaintiffs also include those who are interested in transferring their permanent voters’ cards to another location so that they can vote.”

“The Plaintiffs and other eligible Nigerians have the rights to equal treatment before the law, equal protection, non-discrimination and equal opportunities to participate in the government of Nigeria.”

“By refusing the Plaintiffs and seven million other Nigerians the opportunity to complete the registration for their PVCs, INEC have unfairly, unreasonably, and unjustifiably denied them the opportunity to be heard at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner as to the reasons for not completing their registration.”

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“The Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended) provides in Section 14(1)(c) that, ‘the participation by the people in their government shall be ensured in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.’”

“Similarly, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance guarantee the right to political participation, including the right to vote.”

“The Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), recently disclosed that over seven million Nigerians who carried out their voter pre-registration online could not complete the process at physical centres.”

“According to a report released by INEC, out of 10,487,972 Nigerians who carried out their pre-registration online, only 3,444,378 Nigerians representing 32.8 percent, completed the process at a physical centre. 7,043,594 Nigerians carried out their pre-registration but are yet to complete the process at a physical centre.”

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“This represents over 67 percent of those who began their registration process online. According to INEC, a total of 12,298,944 Nigerians completed their voter registration; 8,854,566 of which were persons who did their registration entirely at a physical centre.”

READ ALSO: 2023: Why We Can’t Extend Voters Registration – INEC

“The Plaintiffs and seven million other Nigerians have already completed their registration online, that is, via INEC online portal by providing their biodata and required documents.”

“According to INEC, the process that is outstanding for the applicants to complete the registration for their PVCs is to visit INEC designated centres for their biometric to be captured.”

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No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.
VANGUARD

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Edo APC Gives Vanguard 24hrs Ultimatum To Retract Alleged Libelous Publication, Threatens Law Suit

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The Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has given Vanguard newspaper 24 hours ultimatum to retract a publication which the party described as “libelous and defamatory.”

This is contained in a letter addressed to Vanguard newspaper Editor by the party’s lawyer, Martin Omo-lghekpe, a copy of which was made available to INFO DAILY on Tuesday.

Vanguard newspaper was said to have carried an advertorial today July 23, 24, wherein faces of some APC chieftains in the state were published and labelled: Edo Airport Violence: Faces of Suspected Culprits.

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READ ALSO: JUST IN: Reps Increase 2024 Budget To N35.055 Trillion, Amend Finance Bill

In the letter titled: ‘LIBEL AND DEFAMATION AGAINST THE ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESss (APC) EDO STATE CHAPTER WITH RESPECT TO THE NAMED PERSONS, WHOSE PHOTOGRAPHS APPEARED IN PAGE 15 OF THE VANGUARD’, the APC lawyer said it was meant to malign the party and the persons whose photographs wete published by the paper.

The party said Vanguard’s failure to publish a retraction and apology within the said 24 hours would lead to the party instituting “criminal and civil action” against the paper over what the paper referred to as “defamatory and libelous” publication.

The letter reads in part: “It is our brief that you termed the photographs of the aforesaid gentlemen as “Edo
State Airport Violence faces of suspected culprits”

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READ ALSO: BREAKING: Shelve Planned Hardship Protest, Tinubu Appeals To Nigerians

“We take serious reservations to your audacious, malicious, libelous and defamatory publication which has no legal foundation, as the said publication is orchestrated to
malign the image of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Edo State Chapter, in the eyes of the general public as our Client had written a comprehensive petition to the office of the Knspector General of Police, in respect of the incident at the Benin Airport on the 18 of July, 2024, which said petition is subject to police
investigation.

“We are of the firm view that a newspaper of your standing, ought to maintain the highest ethical standard put in place by the regulatory agencies.

“Flowing from the above, our Client hereby demand as follows:
a) The immediate retraction of the aforesaid malicious, libelous and
defamatory publication within 24 hours of the receipt of this letter.
b) A letter of apology to our Client within a full cover space of your
newspaper. TAKE NOTICE; that failure to abide by the penultimate paragraphs, will leave us with no option than to institute both criminal and civil action against Vanguard.”

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JUST IN: Imo Senator, Onyewuchi Dumps Labour Party, Joins APC

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The senator representing Imo East Senatorial District, Ezenwa Onyewuchi, has dumped the Labour Party (LP) and joined the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Onyewuchi also declared his support for President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

His letter of defection was read on the floor of the red chambers by Senate President Godswill Akpabio, on Tuesday, July 23.

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Read Also: Reps minority caucus advocates political solution to end Nnamdi Kanu’s detention
Recall in 2022, Senator Onyewuchi left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to join the Labour Party (LP).

READ ALSO: JUST IN: ADC Reps Member Defects To APC

Onyewuchi was also a former member of the House of Representatives – Owerri-Municipal/Owerri-North/West-Federal Constituency

The letter partly reads: “This decision is due to the intractable division and crisis in the labour party that sponsored my election into the senate.

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“We give our unflinching support to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and of course, support his administration aimed at achieving sustainable development for our country.”

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JUST IN: ADC Reps Member Defects To APC

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The member representing Ijumu/Kabba Bunu federal constituency of Kogi state, Hon. Idris Salman on Tuesday, July 23, announced his defection from the Africa Democratic Congress (ADC) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Salman, who was one of the two ADC lawmakers elected into the 10th Assembly, said he was defecting to the ruling party after due consultations.

His defection which is the first since the House was inaugurated on 13th June, 2023, was greeted with loud applause by members present at plenary.

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READ ALSO: JUST IN: Tinubu Sends ₦70,000 Minimum Wage Bill To NASS

The minority whip, Hon. Ali Isa JC, however, asked the House to declare the seat of the defecting member vacant in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

He said the Constitution provides that any member who defects from the party that sponsored him as a member of the House should lose his seat especially when there is no crisis in the party.

However, the minority whip’s position was overshadowed by a cacophony of voices, as the chamber erupted into chaos with members attempting to drown out his remarks.

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The defection of Salman reduces the number of the minority caucus to 179.

 

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