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Elections: Court dismisses LP’s suit against INEC on transmission of results electronically 



INEC refutes report on appointment of Femi Odubiyi as head of ICT

A Federal High Court, Abuja has dismissed a suit filed by the Labour Party (LP) seeking to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adopt electronic methods for transmitting 2023 election results.

Justice Emeka Nwite, in a judgment, held that Section 52(2) of the Electoral Act, 2022, cited by counsel to the party, Monday Mawah, provided for voting and transmission of results in accordance with the procedure to be determined by INEC.

According to him, this is to say that the commission is at liberty to prescribe or choose the manner in which election results shall be transmitted.

The copy of the judgment delivered by Justice Nwite on Jan. 23, prior to the Presidential and National Assembly elections held on Feb. 25, was gotten by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday.

NAN reports that LP, through its lawyer, had, on Aug  22, 2022, filed the originating summons marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1454/2022 to sue INEC as the sole respondent.

The party asked the court to determine whether having regards to the combined effect of Sections 47 (2), 50 (2), 60(4), 60 (5) and 62 (1)(2) and other relevant provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 the commission can still insist on manual collation of results in the general elections.

The LP sought two injunctive reliefs in the event that the question was resolved in its favour.

These include: “A declaration that the respondent has no power to opt for a manual method other than the electronic method provided for by the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022.

“An order of this honourable court directing/compelling the respondent to comply with the Electoral Act, 2022 on electronic transmission of results in the forthcoming general elections.”

However, INEC neither responded nor filed any process in the suit.

Mahwah, in his argument, submitted that in view of the provisions of the law, manual collation of results was unknown to the Electoral Act, 2022 and therefore must be rejected or disallowed by the court.

Delivering the judgment, Justice Nwite said: “it is indeed a trite law that the function of the court is no more than interpreting the law.

“In interpreting the law, the court is enjoined to interpret the status as they are without going outside them to bring in what the court would think was intended,” citing a previous case to back his ruling.

According to him, the functions, roles and duties of the court in interpretation of statute are to give meaning and effect to clear and unambiguous words of the statute.

The judge said from the argument of the plaintiff’s counsel, the bone of contention or the sections that sought interpretation were Sections 50(2) 60(5) and 62(2) of the Electoral Act, 2022.

He said Section 47(2) as cited by the lawyer only dealt with the accreditation of voters using a Smart Card Reader but not the collation or transmission of results as postulated by him.

“The provision of Section 60(5) of the Electoral Act, 2022 as cited above has provided for the transfer of election results including the total number of the accredited voters from the polling unit.

“Section 62(2) on the other hand provides for compilation, maintenance and continuous update of the register of election results as distinct database for all polling units’ results as collated in all elections conducted by the commission.

“The said Section 62(2) has mandated that such register of election results shall be kept in an electronic format by the commission at its national headquarters.

“Now a close reading of Section 50(2) has provided for voting and transmission of result to be done in accordance with the procedure to be determined by the commission.

“This is to say that the commission is at liberty to prescribe or choose the manner in which election results shall be transmitted,” he said.

Nwite equally held that Section 60(5) empowered the polling unit’s presiding officer to transfer the election results including the total number of accredited voters and results of the ballot in a manner to be prescribed by INEC.

“This is also to say the commission is again at liberty to prescribe to the Polling Units’ Presiding Officers the manner in which to collate and transfer the election results as well as the accredited number of voters in an election under the Act.

“In view of the foregoing, can the act of the defendant (INEC) in collating and transferring election results manually in the forthcoming 2023 general elections be said to be contrary to the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022?

“The answer can only be in the negative as there is no wherein the abovecited sections where the commission or any of its agents is mandated to only use an electronic means in collating or transferring of election result.

“If any, the commission is only mandated to collate and transfer election results and the number of accredited voters in a way or manner deemed fit by it.

“In view of the above, I find that by the provisions of Sections 50(2) and 60(5) of the Electoral Act, 2022, the correct interpretation of the said statutes is that the defendant (Independent National Electoral Commission) is at liberty to prescribe the manner in which election results could be transmitted and I so hold,” he said.

The judge consequently dismissed the suit.


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Super Eagles beat hosts Guinea Bissau, to reclaim Group ‘A’ leadership



Super Eagles beat hosts Guinea Bissau, to reclaim Group 'A' leadership

The Super Eagles on Monday in Bissau beat hosts Guinea Bissau 1-0 to reclaim leadership of Group A in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers.

Moses Simon’s penalty kick after 29 minutes gave the Nigerian senior men’s football team the needed win to move to nine points after four matches.

They have now upstaged from the apex position Guinea Bissau who toppled them on Friday in Abuja with a 1-0 win.

Guinea Bissau is with seven points from four matches and in second place, ahead of Sierra Leone who has five points from four matches.

Nigeria is expected to now face the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone in a Match Day 5 fixture.

 Details later  

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Banking & Finance

NGX: Investors Lose N622bn, as NCR Nigeria, Unity Bank lead Losers’ chart



NGX: Investors Lose N622bn, as NCR Nigeria, Unity Bank lead Losers’ chart

The domestic stock market on Nigeria Exchange Ltd. (NGX) continued on a negative note as the market capitalisation on Monday dropped by N622 billion amid sustained profit-taking activities.

Accordingly, investors lost N622 billion in value as market capitalisation declined to  N29.281 trillion from N29.903 trillion recorded at the previous session.

The All-Share Index (ASI) fell by 1,141.76 points, representing a decline of 2.08 percent, to close at 53,750.77 points as against the 54,892.53 posted on Friday.

Consequently, the ASI’s year-to-date (YTD) return fell to 4.88 percent.

The downturn was impacted by losses recorded in large and medium capitalised stocks, amongst which are; Airtel Africa, Seplat Energy, MTN Nigeria Communications (MTNN), Nigerian Breweries and Lafarge Africa.

“We expect risk-on sentiments to be sustained in the equities markets even as the depressed interest rate environment will continue to favour the local bourse in line with our expectations for Q1, 2023.

“Taking positions in stocks with solid valuations and dividend yields ahead of the dividend-paying season remains the choice strategy.

“However, we see room for extended profit-taking activities,” Analysts at United Capital Plc said.

The market breadth was negative as 21 stocks lost relative to five gainers.

Courteville Business Solutions recorded the highest price gain of 6.67 percent to close at 48k per share.

NPF Microfinance Bank followed with a gain of 2.7 percent to close at N1.90 and AIICO Insurance up by 1.75 percent to close at 58k per share.

FBN Holdings (FBNH) rose by 0.92 percent to close at N11, while Zenith Bank gained 0. 2 percent to close at N25 per share.

Conversely, NCR Nigeria led the losers’ chart by 9.79 percent to close at N2.12, per share.

Unity Bank followed with a decline of 9.43 percent to close at 48k, while Prestige Assurance declined by 8.89 percent to close at 41k, per share.

SUNU Assurance declined 8.33 percent to close at 44k, while Multiverse Mining and Exploration and Airtel Africa shed 8.31 percent each to close at N2.98 and N1,420 respectively per share.

Also, the total volume traded decreased by 26.66 percent to 100.883 million units, valued at N4.342 billion and exchanged in 3,279 deals.

Transactions in the shares of Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO) topped the activity chart with 12.836 million shares valued at N318.513 million.

Zenith Bank followed with 11.920 million shares worth N297.982 million, while United Bank for Africa (UBA) traded 10.038 million shares valued at N80.242 million.

MTNN traded 8.264 million shares valued at N1.927 billion, while FBNH transacted 7.719 million shares worth N84.577.

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MARITIME SAFETY: NIMASA, NCC Close Ranks On Submarine Cable Regulation In Nigeria



MARITIME SAFETY: NIMASA, NCC Close Ranks On Submarine Cable Regulation In Nigeria

…Jamoh reiterates  commitment to Ease of Doing Business 

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have agreed to work closely with relevant stakeholders as the Agency inches closer to developing a regulatory framework to provide operational guidelines for Submarine Cable and Pipeline Operators in Nigeria. 

Officials of both organs of Government in Lagos reached this agreement at a pre Audit meeting on submarine cable regulation.

The Director General of NIMASA Dr. Bashir Jamoh, OFR, who chaired the meeting, which also had the Director General of Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) Mr. Dasuki Arabi in attendance, noted that the Agency is committed to the Ease of doing Business while implementing International Conventions which Nigeria has ratified and domesticated. 

He noted that with Nigeria now a destination for global communication players, the time has come to prevent unregulated underwater cable laying, which might become hazardous to shipping.

According to him, “It is worthy to note that marine cable laying has been ongoing for over two decades in Nigerian waters. Our focus is to ensure safety of navigation of shipping in Nigerian waters with all these underwater cables being laid.

NIMASA is actually developing the guidelines to regulate submarine cable operators in line with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, UNCLOS; which we have ratified and NIMASA is the Agency of Government in Nigeria responsible for its implementation. We do not just implement laws; we consult. Where the responsibility of an Agency stops, that is where the responsibilities of another Agency start. Collaboration is a key component of ease of doing business in the best interest of the country and we will work closely with the NCC to achieve this”.

On his part, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta who was represented by the Director, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, Efosa Idehen noted that the stakeholders’ dialogue strategy adopted by NIMASA in developing the guidelines would ensure a win-win situation urging NIMASA management to include the Ministry of Justice, a request NIMASA DG immediately granted.

Also speaking at the meeting was the Director General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms Mr. Dasuki Arabi, who commended NIMASA and NCC for adopting effective Inter-Agency collaboration to avert a potential challenge for the country in the future.

NIMASA had notified submarine and cable operators in Nigeria of a soon-to-be-implemented regulatory guideline for submarine cables and pipelines in Nigeria, in line with the provisions of UNCLOS. NIMASA and the NCC agreed to identify and resolve areas of likely regulatory overlaps, ensuring a regulatory framework based on consultation to engender the attainment of Nigeria’s digital economy transformation.

Officials of the Federal Ministry of Environment and representatives of Submarine Cable operators in Nigeria were also at the meeting.

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