Court restrains NASS from taking further action on Electoral Act amendment Bill

Court restrains NASS from taking further action on Electoral Act amendment Bill

A Federal High Court in Abuja presided over by Justice Ahmed Mohammed Wednesday ordered the National Assembly to stop taking any further actions on the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018 which seeks to change the order of elections for the 2019 general elections.

Subsequently, in a bench ruling, Justice Mohammed held that it was imperative to protect the substance of the suit till the next adjourned date and made an order directing all the parties in the suit to maintain the status quo ante bellum at least between now and the next adjourned date, when the court will hear the plaintiff's motion on notice for an order of interlocutory injunction.

"However we are in disagreement with the President over the first reason that was advanced which states that sequence of the election in Section 25 of the principal act may infringe on the constitutionally guaranteed discretion of INEC to organise, undertake and supervise all elections provided in Section 15 subsection A of the Third Schedule of the constitution".

President Muhammadu Buhari had yesterday declined putting assent to the bill pending the determination of a suit that was filed before it by Accord Party.

Following his refusal to assent the electoral act amendment by lawmakers, the House of Representatives has said that it will not go back on the reordering of the election.

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One of the conveners and the Executive Director of the Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement (YIAGA), Samson Itodo, urged President Buhari to sign the bill into law as soon as received the documents from the National Assembly. The INEC chairman who was represented by national commissioner, and chairman of the Outreach and Partnership Committee, Dr. Adekunle Ladipo Ogunmola stated that the commission was working assiduously on developing the framework for engaging PWDs.

The counsel to the National Assembly, Chinelo Ogbozor, had argued that the substantive matter was not yet ripe for hearing since her client was served less than 48 hours ago.

Justice Mohammed adjourned the case till Tuesday next week.

The plaintiff is claiming "a declaration that the legislative powers vested in the national assembly by the constitution do not empower or imbue it with the right, liberty or authority to pass or purport to pass any bill into law".

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