…fixes June 29 to hear substantive suit
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday stopped the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from ending voter registration on June 30, 2022.
Trial Judge, Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon granted an order of interim injunction following the hearing of an argument on motion ex-parte by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).
SERAP and 185 concerned Nigerians had earlier in the month filed the suit against INEC asking the court to “declare unconstitutional, illegal, and incompatible with international standards, the failure of the electoral body to extend the deadline for voter registration to allow eligible Nigerians to exercise their rights.”
In the suit, SERAP had asked the court for “an order restraining INEC, its agents, privies, assigns, or any other person(s) claiming through it from discontinuing the continuous voters’ registration exercise from the 30th June 2022 or any other date pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.” The Court consequently adjourned to June 29 for the hearing of the Motion on Notice for interlocutory injunction.
The suit followed the decision by INEC to extend the deadline for the conduct of primaries by political parties by six days, from June 3 to June 9. But the Commission failed to also extend the online preregistration which ended May 30, 2022 and the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) ending June 30, 2022.
In the suit marked FHC/L/ CS/1034/2022 and filed at the Federal High Court, Lagos, and transferred to Abuja, SERAP is asking the court to determine “whether the failure of INEC to extend the deadline for voter registration is not a violation of Nigerian Constitution, 1999 [as amended], the Electoral Act, and international standards.
“A declaration that the failure of INEC to extend the deadline for voter registration is a violation of eligible Nigerians’ rights to participate freely in their own government, equality and equal protection.”
SERAP is also asking the court for “an order of mandamus to direct and compel INEC to extend voter registration by a minimum of three months and take effective measures to ensure that eligible Nigerians are able to register to exercise their right to vote in the 2023 general elections.”