Eligible Nigerians who are yet to register for next year’s general election may have the opportunity to do so beyond the time frame following an order given by an Abuja division of the Federal High Court restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from ending voter registration on June 30, 2022.
Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon gave the order on Monday following an ex-parte motion filed by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).
SERAP and others had approached the court seeking the court to declare unconstitutional, illegal, and incompatible with international standards the failure of the electoral body to extend the deadline for voter registration to allow eligible Nigerians to exercise their rights.”
In the suit marked: FHC/L/CS/1034/2022 was filed by SERAP and 185 concerned Nigerians against INEC following the electoral body’s decision to extend the deadline for political party primaries by six days but failing to extend the June 30 deadline for online registration.
They sought the following reliefs:“An order of the court 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.”
“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.”
They 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.”
They also sought “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.”
After hearing SERAP’s argument, Justice Mobolaji granted an order of interim injunction restraining INEC from ending the voter registration pending the hearing of the motion on notice.
The judge adjourned until June 29, to hear the Motion on Notice for interlocutory injunction.