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Businessman Drags INEC To Court To Accommodate Nigerian Voters Without PVCs Once Their Names Appear On Register

Posted by Samuel on Sun 28th Aug, 2022 - tori.ng

Ezeh is asking the court to enforce this right once the voter can be identified/verified to be the persons either with their permanent voters card or not.

 INEC

Dr Emmanuel Ezeh, a businessman, has dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission to court.

The man sued the INEC before an Abuja Federal High Court to allow all registered voters to be able to vote once their names are in the voter's register.

Ezeh is asking the court to enforce this right once the voter can be identified/verified to be the persons either with their permanent voters card or not.

The plaintiff is also a candidate of the Labour Party for the Abakaliki/Izzi Federal Constituency of Ebonyi State in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.

In an Originating Summons filed on Friday at the Federal High Court Abuja through his counsel, J.I. Gbim-Gbande Esq; Ezeh, the plaintiff wants the court to declare Section 47(3) of the Electoral Act 2022 as unconstitutional, null and void as it conferred unlimited power on the defendant (INEC) to disenfranchise registered Nigerian voters.

The counsel is also the who is also a candidate of the Labour Party for the Abakaliki/Izzi Federal Constituency of Ebonyi State in the forthcoming 2023 general elections,

The Plaintiff, who brought suit pursuant to order 3 Rule 9 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2019 and under the inherent jurisdiction formulated four questions for the determination of the court.

The Plaintiff wants the court to determine, "Whether having regard to sections 7(4) and 77(2) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) and section 124(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 read in conjunction with Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 13(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (2004), a Nigerian citizen who has attained the voting age of eighteen (18) years, residing in Nigeria, registered to vote and with his name in the register of voters can vote in any Election conducted by the Defendant.

"Whether having regard to the clear, lucid and unequivocal provisions of sections 9(1), (5) and (6), 19(1), (2) (3), 47(2), 17 and 124 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 the register of voters is the basic legal facility used to authenticate a valid registered voter.

"Where the register of voters is the basic facility used to authenticate a valid voter; whether the requirement of a voter coming into a polling unit with his/her voter's card is compulsory, sine quo non to him/her voting; thus, exercising franchise.

"Whether section 47 (3) of the Electoral Act (2022) is not arbitary and unconstitutional, null and void haven bestowed on the Defendant the unlimited discretion in determining exercise of franchise upon failure of the card reader to authenticate a voter's card."

Among other claims he sought from the court are: "A Declaration that any registered Nigerian voter of voting age is entitled to vote at his/her polling unit of registration once such a Nigerian can be verified to be on the voters register of the Defendant for that polling unit pursuant to the provisions of Section 7(4) and 77 (2) the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As Amended) and Section 124(1) of the Electoral Act 2022.

"A DECLARATION that the Register of voters kept by the Defendant displayed at various polling units all over Nigeria and available physically and electronically at all polling units during elections is the valid, authentic and lawful document authenticating valid voters and the voter's card, card reader, biometric identity-thumb prints or facial recognition used to register voters can be used to identify, accredit and verify eligible registered voters whose names are in the register of voters.

"A DECLARATION that no registered eligible Nigerian voter of voting age can be denied franchise for failure to present his/her voter's card at the polling unit where and when the name of such an eligible voter is on the official voters register of the Defendat for such polling unit and such voter can be authenticated, verified or identified via biometric identity-thumb prints or facial recognition or any other technology deployed by the Defendant during the continuous voter registration exercise.

"A DECLARATION the Section 47(3) of the Electoral Act 2022 is unconstitutional, null and void haven conferred unlimited power on the Defendant to disenfranchise registered Nigerian voters out rightly and impliedly."

He also wants the court to make any orders as may deem fit to make in the circumstances of this case.

The suit was accompanied with 18-paragraph affidavit in support of Originating Summons.



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