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Court orders INEC to allow use of temporary voter card, electoral body kicks

THE Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow the use of Temporary Voter Cards in the March 18 governorship and state assembly elections.

Justice Obiora Egwuatu gave the order while delivering Judgement in a suit filed by two concerned Nigerians seeking the use of TVCs in the general elections in the absence of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).

Justice Egwuatu said that the order was made on the grounds that the plaintiffs were duly registered and captured in INEC’S database.

The judge, however, said that he was unable to grant prayer three which was to allow every eligible voter with a TVC to vote because the suit was not filed in a representative capacity.

“This suit having not been brought in a representative capacity, I find myself unable to grant any relief pursuant to prayer three of the plaintiffs application.”

The court held that there was no portion of the law, both the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act that states that it is only PVCs that could be used but that the law under Section 47 provided for a voters card.

INEC had repeatedly held that only eligible voters with the PVCs would be allowed to vote in the 2023 presidential, governorship and parliamentary elections.

However, the plaintiffs, Kofoworola Olusegun and Wilson Allwell had challenged the position of INEC and asked the court to determine “Whether by the true construction and interpretation of section 10(2), 12(1) and 47 of the Electoral Act 2022; Section 77(2) and 132(5) of the 1999 constitution (as amended), and bearing in mind that the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) machine introduced by INEC only needs the thumbprint and/or facial recognition to accredit a voter.

MEANWHILE, INEC has indicated plans to appeal the court judgement.

Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, in a statement on Thursday, expressed the intention of the commission to approach the appellate court.

“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been served a copy of the judgement delivered today by the Federal High Court, Abuja Division which ordered it to allow two Plaintiffs to vote with their Temporary Voter’s Card (TVC),” the statement read.

“The Commission is taking immediate steps to appeal against the judgement of the trial court.”

Justice Obiora Egwuatu had given the order allowing the use of the TVCs while delivering Judgement in a suit filed by two concerned Nigerians seeking the use of TVCs in the general elections in the absence of permanent voter cards (PVCs).

Justice Egwuatu said the order was made on the grounds that the plaintiffs were duly registered and captured in INEC’S database.

The court, however, added that it was unable to grant prayer three which was to allow every eligible voter with a TVC to vote because the suit was not filed in a representative capacity.

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