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Published On: Tue, Jul 8th, 2014

Activists sue INEC over parties’ de-registration

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The Incorporated Trustee of Citizens Rights Aid and Control Initiative (CRACI) has dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before a Federal High Court in Abuja, over the de-registration of 28 political parties by the electoral body.

The organization, in a suit filed through its lawyer, Godwin Sunday Ogboji wants the court to declare whether INEC can legally and lawfully rely on Section 78(7) of the Electoral Act, 2010 to de-register any political party in the country that is duly registered by virtue of Sections 222 and 223 of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended).

It prays the court to declare that the purported de- registration of the political parties by INEC is a flagrant violation of the provisions of the Constitution, hence it is ultra vires, unlawful, illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

“A declaration that once a political party is duly registered by INEC, upon fulfilling the condition set out in Sections 222 and 223 of the  Constitution, such a political party remains in existence until it voluntarily folds up its activities as a political party in Nigeria.

“A order restraining INEC, its agents, privies and/or whosoever acting on its behalf from interfering with the smooth running of the political parties it purport to have deregistered”, the plaintiff asked the court.

An affidavit in support of the suit which has INEC and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice as defendants, said one of the aims and objectives of the organization is to enhance and promote compliance with laws and statutes, pointing out that the Plaintiff was shocked and surprised at the flagrant abuse and violent breach of the Constitution when INEC, in one instant purportedly deregistered 28 political parties and later proceeded to purport to deregister three other political parties.

“That, in view of the Plaintiff’s position and statute in Nigeria as an organization that enhances, promotes and ensures the due compliance with laws and statues, the Plaintiff have been asked by several persons and other NGOs as to the legality or otherwise of the action of the 1st Defendant (INEC) deregistering some political parties in Nigeria.

“That it was also discovered that the 1st Defendant cannot rely on an inferior law, the Electoral Act 2010 to de-register any political party when the Constitution that created it in the first place did not expressly vest in it such powers”, the affidavit stated.

Hearing in the matter has been slated for September 18, 2014, by the Court, sitting before Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed.

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