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2019: Groups Threatens Legal Action Over IDP Voting Points

A coalition of 15 Civil Society Organizations led by Leadership and Accountability Initiative, has threatened to drag the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to court within fourteen days if the commission does not provide for the Internally Displaced Person (IDPs) Voting Points (VPs) for the forth coming general elections.

The group in a petition to the Commission by their legal counsel, Bar. J.I Gbim Gbande have alleged that INEC in its reserved decision to only allow the IDPs in Abuja to vote has invariably denied legitimate and bonafide Nigerians their fundamental rights to vote.

According to a petition made available to Stateman News Portal, the group averred that section 77 of the electoral act provides for all Nigerians without place of abode the right to vote thereby stating that the decision of INEC to provide only for Abuja IDPs is an intentional attempt to deny the IDPs in Benue the right to vote.

“ Be reminded also that section 77 of the Electoral Act impliedly provides for the right of every registered voter to vote be they in IDP camps or in the comfort of their homes and no entrustments whatsoever can deny a eligible voter this constitutional right. The petition stated.

In the petition, Bar. J.I Gbimgbande further noted that the UnitedNations Declaration of Human Rights in Article 25 recognised the right of every citizen to vote thusthe refusalofINEC toprovide voting points in Venue was a tacit attempt to deny those in Benue IDP camps the right to vote vote.

“Also be reminded that Nigeria is a state based on the principles of democracy and social justice as enshrined in Section 14(1) of the CFRN (1999) As Amended and government and all it’s agencies inclusive of INEC are duty bound to conduct their affairs in line with the fine tenets of democracy and principles of social justice as mandatorily prescribed by the highest law of the land.

Take note also that the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,particularly Article 25 recognise the right of every citizen to vote and Nigeria having ratified these treaties into law is bound hand and foot by them”. It read in part.

They have thus issued the Commission an ultimatum as follows: “NOW TAKE FINAL NOTICE therefore that except within fourteen days of receipt of this letter,the day of receipt inclusive,you furnish the public with the arrangements on how the voiceless Nigerians in the IDP camp’s in Benue,Taraba,Plateau and other States so affected will vote,we shall without further recourse to you perfect the second arm of our clients instructions by instituting a civil action against INEC to stop this attempt at illegitimate disenfranchisement of Nigerians and rape of constitutional democracy”. They threatened.

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