Court has restrained Buhari, INEC, the Senate, and others from further amendment of the Electoral Act 2022.
A Federal High Court in Abuja has restrained President Muhamadu Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Senate President, Speaker and others from refusing to implement the newly passed Electoral Act as it is.
In a Monday ruling, Justice Inyang Ekwo also barred the Senate President, Speaker, INEC, and seven other officials from agreeing to Buhari’s request that the National Assembly rework the new Electoral Act by deleting Section 84(12).
The ruling was on the Peoples Democratic Party’s motion ex-parte for interim injunctions, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/247/2022 (PDP).
The interim orders will remain in effect until the plaintiff’s motion on notice for interlocutory injunctions is decided, according to the Judge.
The President of the Federation, the Attorney-General of the Federation, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Clerk of the National Assembly, the Senate Leader, the House Leader of the House of Assembly, INEC, the Deputy President of the Senate, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Deputy Senate Leader, and the Deputy House Leader of the House of Representatives are all named as defendants.
After hearing from the PDP’s lawyer, James Onoja (SAN), who argued the motion, Justice Ekwo issued an order of interim injunction prohibiting the defendants and their agents from “refusing to implement the duly signed Electoral Act or in any manner howsoever withholding the said Act from being put to use or failing to or refusing in any manner howsoever from enforcing the provisions of the said Electoral Act 2022 including the provisions of Section.
He also issued an interim injunction prohibiting the other defendants, except the President and the AGF, from “implementing or in any manner whatsoever, giving effect to the first defendant/directive respondent’s to delete or remove the provisions of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022 on the ground that it is unconstitutional, or at all or in any manner taking any step at the first defendant/behest respondent’s or at all to render Section 84 of the Electoral Act 20
The PDP argued that because the President signed the Electoral Bill forwarded to him on February 25, 2022, he cannot direct the National Assembly to take immediate action to repeal a section of the said Electoral Act 2022 for any reason.
It went on to say that the Judiciary, not the Executive, including the President, has the sole authority to interpret any law.
According to the PDP, the principal officers of the National Assembly, who are named as defendants in the suit, “intend to usurp the judicial functions of the courts, which is exclusively reserved for the judicial arm of the government as guaranteed under the said Constitution of the Federal Government of Nigeria 1999 as amended, to give effect to the said Constitution of the Federal Government of Nigeria 1999 as amended, to give effect to the said Constitution of the Federal Government of Nigeria 1999 as amended, to give effect to the said Constitution of the Federal Government of
The motion ex-parte was filed to ensure that the National Assembly’s principal officers do not carry out the President’s directive to repeal Section 84(12) of the Act.
The case will be heard again on March 21 by Justice Ekwo.