Court Bars INEC From Ending Voter Registration On June 30

2 years ago
1 min read

As the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) prepares to end voter registration on June 30, 2022 in line with its schedule of activities, an Abuja Federal High Court has barred it from doing so.

Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon of the court gave an order of interim injunction on Monday following the hearing of an argument on motion exparte brought by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).

INEC had announced its intention to end voter registration exercise on June 30 to enable it harmonize and clean up it’s database and also produce Permanent Voter Cards for newly registered voters ahead of the 2023 general election. It had also ended online pre-registration exercise on 30 May 2022.

Following the unprecedented surge in turnout of Nigerians at INEC designated centres in recent times for voter registration, various individuals and groups have called on INEC to extend the deadline to enable eligible Nigerians register.

As a result of the commission’s insistence on ending the registration exercise, SERAP, a human rights group and 185 concerned Nigerians filled an action early this month against INEC, asking the court to declare as “unconstitutional, illegal, and incompatible with international standards the failure of the electoral body to extend the deadline for voter registration to allow eligible Nigerians exercise their rights.”

READ ALSO: Voter Registration: Nzuko Umunna Urges INEC to Extend Deadline Beyond June 30

In the suit (marked the suit number FHC/L/CS/1034/2022) filed at the Federal High Court, Lagos, and transferred to Abuja, SERAP had asked the court to grant an order preventing the electoral body from discontinuing the continuous voters’ registration exercise from the 30th June 2022 or any other date pending the hearing and determination of  the matter before the court.

The human rights group is also asking the court to determine whether INEC’s action of refusing to extend the deadline for voter registration does not amount to a violation of Nigerian Constitution, 1999 (as amended), the Electoral Act, and international standards.

SERAP is asking the court for “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.”

It 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.”

Justice Olajuwon adjourned the suit till 29th June 2022 for the hearing of the Motion on Notice for an interlocutory injunction.


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