NGO drags Malami, Kalu to court
A human rights organisation, the Incorporated Trustees of Initiative Against Human Right Abuse and Torture, has dragged the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami, to court over an alleged electoral crime.
Others also accused of breaching the electoral laws are the Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzo Kalu and Dim Emeka Obasi.
In the originating summons filed before the Federal High Court, the plaintiff is accusing the defendants of “gross violation of the provisions of the Electoral Act by displaying their ballot papers to the public immediately after casting their votes in their various polling units on the 25th day of February 2023”.
It is averring that the action of the defendant’s “Including the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari and some sitting Governors who are currently under immunity” sabotaged the secrecy of the ballot.
In the affidavit in support of the originating summons deposed to by the National Coordinator of INAHURAT, Gerald Katchy Okoro, he stated that the plaintiff was accredited by INEC to observe the general elections of 25th February and 18th March 2023.
He said, in line with the rules of engagement, the plaintiff posted its observers to observe the general election throughout the federation.
Furthermore, he averred that during the Presidential Election, the defendants “including the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari and some sitting Governors who presently are under immunity” upon casting their votes displayed their ballot papers to the public.
He said they revealed to the public the candidate and the party they had voted for to influence the general election thereby undermining the secrecy of the ballot papers.
As a result of the alleged infraction, the NGO is praying the court to order the electoral umpire and the IGP to investigate the alleged offenders by the provisions of the law.
It is praying the court for “a declaration that the action of the 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants in displaying and showing to the public their ballots papers on the 25th February, 2023 during the presidential and National Assembly election to show or review whom they voted for to influence the election is a clear and gross violation of Section 122 (1), (2) and (3 a & b) of the Electoral Act, 2022”.
“A declaration that the action of the 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants in displaying their ballot papers to the public to review the party and or candidate they voted for in the concluded presidential and National Assembly Election on the 25th February 2023 amounts to a gross violation of Section 122 (3) (b) of the Electoral Act, 2022”.
“A declaration that the 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants in displaying their Ballot papers to the public after casting their votes to review the party and the candidates they had voted influenced the election and as such are in total violation of the secret ballot envisaged in section 122 of the Electoral Act, 2022”.
“A declaration that the action of the 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants in displaying or reviewing to the public their ballot papers after casting their votes attracts the punishment prescribed under section 122 (4) of the Electoral Act, 2022”.
“An order directing the 1st and the 2nd defendants to investigate the 3rd and the 5th defendants and prosecute them accordingly and punish them in line with Section 122 (4) of the Electoral Act, 2022”.
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