Law News
Court hears suit against PVC use March 16

Justice Evo Chukwu of the Federal High Court 8 in Abuja will on March 16 commence hearing in a suit seeking to stop the use of the Permanent Voter Cards for the 2015 general elections.

The suit is filed by the Attorney General of Plateau State; speaker of the state House of Assembly, Titus Alams; and the chairmen of the 17 local government areas in the state against the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Other plaintiffs in the suit include the Chairman of the Plateau State Council of Traditional Rulers, Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Gyang Buba; and former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Domkat Bali, who is the traditional ruler of the Tarok People in Langtang.

The plaintiffs, in the suit filed on their behalf by S.G Odey, said majority of their people were yet to get their PVC and that they would be disenfranchised if the PVC is used for the elections scheduled for March 28 and April 11.

They want an order of the court, directing INEC to use the National Register of Voters already compiled and maintained by the commission for each state of the federation, Federal Capital Territory, local governments and area councils at the 2011 general elections and/or any previous election containing the names of persons qualified to vote and be voted for in the forthcoming general election.

They also want the court to direct the defendant to allow persons who are qualified and whose names are on the National Register of Voters to vote.

According to the originating summons, the plaintiffs want the court to determine, among others, whether having regards to Section 14(2)(c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended), Section 12 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2010, (as amended), Article 13 (1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, 2004, as well as the principle of Universal Adult Suffrage, guaranteeing a person who is qualified to vote and be voted for at the forthcoming general elections or at any general election conducted by the defendant, can the defendant set down any rules, regulations, guidelines or time table to deprive or having the effect of depriving any person from exercising the right to vote and be voted for.

They are also asking the court to determine whether having regards to the provision of Sections 9(5) and 10 of the Electoral Act, 2010, (as amended) that guarantees continuous registration of voters, can the defendant set down any rules, regulations, guidelines or time table restricting or limiting continuous registration of voters to any given period not later than 60 days before the forth coming general election or at any general election contrary to the provision of the aforesaid law.

They want the court to declare that INEC has no power under the law to set down any rules capable of depriving citizens of their rights to vote and be voted for.

Meanwhile, INEC has said that it is prepared to go ahead with the use of card readers for the general elections.

Assistant Director, Voter Education and Publicity, of the commission in Plateau State, Mr. Osaretin Imahiyereobo, told our correspondent in Jos on Sunday that preparations for the use of the card readers were in top gear.

“For now, nothing changes, the situation is the same, the card reader will be used unless the court says otherwise,” Imahiyereobo said.

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