By Emmanuel Adeleke
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has stopped the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from ending the ending the continuous voter registration (CVR) exercise on June 30.
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the electoral umpire had fixed June 30 as the deadline for the suspension of CVR across the federation.
Deputy director of Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) Kolawole Oluwadare, who disclosed this in a statement on Monday, said the presiding judge, Mobolaji Olajuwon, granted an order of interim injunction following the hearing of an argument on an ex parte motion.
To push for an extension, SERAP and 185 Nigerians had filed a lawsuit against INEC.
SERAP had said the deadline should be pushed forward in the same manner INEC extended the deadline for the conduct of primaries by political parties.
In the suit filed at the Federal High Court, Lagos, which was later transferred to Abuja, SERAP had asked the court for “an order restraining INEC, its agents, privies, assigns, or any other person(s) claiming through it from discontinuing the continuous voters’ registration exercise from the 30th June, 2022, or any other date pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”
SERAP asked the court to determine “whether the failure of INEC to extend the deadline for voter registration is not a violation of Nigerian Constitution, 1999 [as amended], the Electoral Act, and international standards”.
It also asked 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.”
SERAP is also seeking “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”.
The suit was adjourned to June 29, 2022, for the hearing of motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.