21 December 2012

Nigeria: Activist Sues INEC, AGF Over De-Registration of Political Parties

Awka — A HUMAN rights activist and legal practitioner based in Onitsha, Anambra State, Mr. Jezie Ekejiuba, has dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and Attorney General of Federation, AGF, to the Federal High Court, Awka, challenging the recent de-registration of 28 political parties in the country.

Ekejiuba had last year, filed a similar suit in the court in suit No FHC/AWKA/CS/620/2011, when INEC announced the de-registration of seven political parties, and prayed for an order of perpetual injunction restraining INEC and its agents from putting into effect the deregistration of registered political parties.

According to him, the action has the effect of infringing on the fundamental human rights of members of the affected political parties.

He had argued that pursuant to order 3, rule 6 of the Federal High Court rules, 2009, the deregistration of recognized political parties in Nigeria by INEC, pursuant to section 78(7) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) is inconsistent with section 40 of the amended 1999 constitution of Nigeria.

According to him, there is no provision in the third schedule that created INEC which empowers it to deregister or withdraw the certificate of registration of any of the recognized political parties in Nigeria, adding that the registration and recognition of political parties in Nigeria under section 222 (a -l) of the constitution is permanent and irrevocable.

In a 10-point affidavit in support of the originating summons deposed to at the Federal High Court, Awka yesterday, Ekejiuba regretted that despite the knowledge of INEC about the pendency of his earlier suit on the first de-registration exercise last year, the Commission went ahead and de-registered 28 more recognized political parties by fiat.

He insisted that the de-registration of the political parties by INEC violated section 40 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), arguing that as a human rights activist, the action of INEC would adversely affect him.

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