Despite the ruling of the Federal High Court in Abuja stating that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should resume Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), Justice Inyang Ekwo on Tuesday held that it was late for that to happen given the time frame to the 2023 general elections.
Ekwo ruled that going by the 90 days window period set by the Electoral Act, INEC would have had just a few days to continue with the exercise.
The plaintiffs—Anajat Salmat, Earnest Stanley, Chief Charles Okafor and Mr Samuel Oluwakemi— had in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1343/2022 prayed the court to direct the electoral body to resume voter registration discontinued 208 days before the elections of 2023.
The plaintiffs had relied on 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.
INEC had however based its decision to end voter registration earlier than expected on the need to commence printing and distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) as early as possible.
While Justice Ekwo in the judgment held two of the prayers noting that the commission must operate in tandem with the constitutional provisions and allow eligible Nigerians register, he held that it was late for the commission to restart registration.
“Going by the date of the verdict, the court is unable to grant relief number three as INEC would have had just a few days away from 90 days before the general election of February 25, 2023 and March 11, 2023”, he said.
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