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Court Prays APC And PDP Suit Seeking Non-Usage Of PVC And Card Readers For Elections

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has granted the prayers of the Peoples Democratic Party and All Progressives Congress  as defendants in a new suit filed by a group, Society for Advancement Protection of Public Rights  seeking an order stopping the use of the Card Reader Machine for the forthcoming elections.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole, granted the applicants’ prayers on Friday. The plaintiff did not oppose the parties’ applications.
SAPPR has a similar suit pending before Justice Abdulkadir Abdulkafarati of the same Federal high Court, Abuja.
The group, in the suit marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/06/2015, seeking to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission from using the PVC and card readers for the next general elections.
The plaintiff hinged its prayers on the grounds that the use of the card reader machine was likely to lead to the disenfranchisement of eligible voters.
It argues that since INEC had not engaged in trial application of the PVC and card readers, they could not guarantee their effectiveness.
The group wants the court to among others, direct INEC to revert to the use of TVCs, which it said, had been tested during previous elections.
Justice Abdulkafarati had, on February 23 joined the PDP, the APC and its presidential candidate, Mohammadu Buhari and a group, the Registered Trustees of Fiscal and Civil Rights Enlightenment Foundation (FCREF) in the suit as 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th defendants.
In the fresh suit before Justice Kolawole, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/66/2015, SAPPR wants the court to hold that the planned deployment of the CRM for the elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission as a violation of the provision of Section 52(1) of the Electoral Act.
With the inclusion of the PDP and APC in the suit, the defendants have now risen to four, including INEC and the Attorney General of the Federation, who are also parties in the suit before Justice Abdulkafarati. The case is adjourned till March 18 for mention.
Yesterday, Justice Kolawole had fixed hearing in the fresh suit for March 24. He ordered the service of hearing notice on INEC that was not represented in court.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola also of the Federal High Court, Abuja, had on March 2, 2015 refused to grant an ex-parte motion filed by four political parties for an interim order restraining INEC from proceeding with all arrangements to conduct elections using the CRM.
?The four political parties that had adopted President Goodluck Jonathan as their candidate,
are United Democratic Party, Action Alliance, Allied Congress Party of Nigeria and Alliance for Democracy.
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The substantive suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/173/2015, was filed for the parties by Alex Iziyon (SAN), Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), Ikechukwu Ezechukwu (SAN) and Adekunle Oyesanya ( SAN).
The plaintiffs are seeking, “A declaration that the provisions of Paragraphs 2.4. Step 1(c) &(f), 2.4.1, Steps 3, 4, 5; 4tep5 Scenario B, C, D, E; 2.6; 2.6.1 of the Manual for Elections Officials 2015 and Paragraphs 4, 7(a), 8(a), 10(a), (iii), (iv); 10(b); 12(a)(b)(c), 13(a)(e), 14, 33(b), (d)&(e) of INEC Approved Guidelines and Regulations for the conduct of 2015 general election are inconsistent with the provisions of Paragraph 15(i) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria(as amended), Sections 49(1)(2); 4ection 52(1)(2)(3) of the Electoral Act 2010(as amended); Sections 49(1)(2); Section 52(1)(2)(3). Of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and therefore untra vires, null,void and unconstitutional.
“A declaration that the same provisions of the INEC Approved Guidelines and Regulations for the conduct of 2015 General Election and Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) “and to the extent of their inconsistencies, null, void and unconstitutional and of no effect whatsoever.
“A declaration that the introduction of Card Reader Machine and subjection of the permanent voters card (PVC) of eligible voters, whose names are contained in the voter’s register in the manual for Election Officials 2015 and Paragraphs 4, 7(a), 8(a), 10(a), (iii), (iv); 10(b); 12(a)(b)(c); 13(a)(e), 14, 33(b), (d) & (e) of INEC Approved Guidelines and Regulations for the conduct of 2015 General Election for the conduct of General Election 2015 is an infringement of the right of the eligible voters already guaranteed under Section 49(1)(2); Section 52(3) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and therefore null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
“An order of injunction restraining the defendant, its agents, servants or privies from using the card reader machine or any machine of like nature for the purpose of reading data of voter’s card and or accreditation, whatsoever in the 2015 general elections in Nigeria commencing on March 28, 2015 or any other date.”

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