The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Monday, okayed a suit seeking to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to appoint a reputable auditing firm to carry out external forensic audit on the Voters’ Register that will be used for the 2023 general elections.
The suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/24/2023, which was brought before the court by an electorate, Prince Ozodinobi, is also seeking an order to restrain INEC from conducting the impending elections with a Voters’ Register containing the list of double registrants and under-aged voters.
The plaintiff alleged before the court that the Voters’ Register as currently maintained by INEC, for the purpose of the election, “is heavily corrupted and afflicted with under-aged registrants and multiple registrants in contravention of the laws governing election in Nigeria”.
He told the court that shortly after INEC published the list of Registered Voters on its website and called upon Nigerians to scrutinize the published list, himself, in company of other like-minded Nigerians, swiftly went into action to undertake a critical review of the Voters’ Register that was published and identified “thousands of under-aged voters and multiple registrants.”
“A list of the identified thousands of under-aged voters and multiple registrants from different states of the Federation as mined from the website of the 1st Defendant is hereby annexed in four volumes marked as EXHIBIT B.
“That the Plaintiff together with his friends raised objections regarding the under-aged registrants and multiple registrants in the manner directed by the 1st Defendant.
“That the 1st Defendant has continued to re-assure the general Nigerian public that the under-aged registrants and multiple registrants will be weeded out of its Voters’ Register.
“That notwithstanding the consistent reassurances of the 1st Defendant, the 1st Defendant has failed to execute the duty imposed on it by law regarding the under-aged registrants and multiple registrants by failing to glaringly weed out the under-aged registrants and multiple registrants from its Voters’ Register.
“That the time allotted by law within which the 1st Defendant is allowed to make the
necessary corrections and take decisions on the objections around under-aged voters and multiple registrants has long expired.
“That barring the swift intervention of this Honourable Court, the 1st Defendant will crash the fragile democracy of Nigeria by destroying the foundation of elections in Nigeria through the use of heavily tainted Voters’ Register despite the heavy resources, exceeding Three Hundred Billion Naira, voted for the 1st Defendant to conduct a credible pool in 2023 for the Nigerian nation”.
Consequently, the plaintiff, in the suit he filed through his lawyer, Mr. Jideobi Johnmary, is praying the court to among other thing, determine; “Whether having regard to section 117(2) and Part I of the Third Schedule to the amended 1999 Constitution, Section 12 (1), 19 and 20 of the Electoral Act, 2022 it is not unconstitutional for the 1st Defendant to conduct a general election with a Voters’ Register besmirched/afflicted with double registrants and under-aged voters?
Upon determination of the question, he wants, “An order of this Honourable Court expunging FORTHWITH, from the Voters’ Register maintained by the 1st Defendant, the list of double registrants and under-aged voters as identified and assembled by the Plaintiffs in Exhibit A of the affidavit supporting this Originating Summons.
“An order of this Honourable Court appointing a reputable Auditing Firm [including but not limited to either; PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), KPMG, Deloitte & Touche and Ernst & Young to carry out external forensic audit on the Voters’ Register maintained by the 1st Defendant with a view to removing all under-aged and double registrants from the Voters’ Register before the 2023 General Election”.
As well as, “An order of this Honourable Court directing the Federal Government of Nigeria, as represented by the 2nd Defendant, to bear the cost of the external forensic audit to be carried out on the INEC’s Voters’ Register by the court-appointed Auditing Firm”.
Aside from INEC, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, was listed as the 2nd Defendant in the matter.
Meanwhile, no date has been fixed the suit to be heard.
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