A Federal High Court in Abuja has given a 90-day ultimatum to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to identify its officials involved in underage registration during the continuous voters’ registration (CVR) exercise in polling units across the country.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu, in a judgment, also ordered that the perpetrators of the crime must be handed over to the appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation and possible prosecution.
He equally demanded that INEC must remove all the names of underage voters from its national voters’ register as identified and compiled by the plaintiff in “Exhibit A” attached to the affidavit in support of the originating summons.
Alternatively, he ordered the electoral umpire to publish the cleaned-up national voters’ register of all the persons eligible to vote in the country on its website within 90 days from the date of the judgment.
Naija News reports that the plaintiff, Rev. Mike Agbon, in the originating summons marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/367/2023 filed on March 17 through his lawyer, Desmond Yamah, had sued INEC as the sole defendant.
In the suit, the plaintiff posed six questions for determination including “whether the defendant is constitutionally, legally and duty bound to conduct credible CVR in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Whether the constitution and its enabling statute bind the defendant, the Electoral Act, 2022, to act in strict compliance with the provisions of the constitution and its enabling act.
“Whether by virtue of Section 23 of the Electoral Act, 2022, it is illegal and unlawful for the defendant to have registered underaged i.e. infants and toddlers, during the CVR.
“Whether the admission by the defendant that it has a substantial number of the underaged, illegal and illegible voters published in its voters’ register, exonerates the defendant from any sanction within the ambit of the law for registering underaged as contained in Sections 12 & 23 of the Electoral Act, 2022.”
Agbon, therefore, sought “a mandatory order, compelling and directing the defendant to forthwith within one month to identify, produce and hand its officials that are involved in the registration of the underaged in each polling unit across the federation over for investigation and prosecution by the appropriate law enforcement agency.”