The Independent National Electoral Commission has stated that it had not yet received the directive from the court instructing the identification of its officials involved in the registration of underaged voters.
The Federal High Court in Abuja, in a case numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/367/2023 filed by Rev Mike Agbon against INEC, ordered the commission on Monday to identify the responsible officials and hand them over to appropriate law enforcement agencies for investigation and prosecution.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu emphasized compliance within 90 days, stating that INEC officials had committed a criminal offense by violating the Electoral Act.
“Where there is a failure to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act by any officer appointed for the Act, such an officer has committed an offence,” the judge held.
Asked on Wednesday if INEC would comply with the judgment or go on appeal, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, told The PUNCH: “We are yet to be officially served with a Certified True Copy of the judgment.”
In the judgment, the judge noted that Festus Okoye, a former spokesman for INEC, had acknowledged the infractions as evidenced in Exhibits B1 and B2.
Justice Egwuatu said, “These infractions were admitted by the defendant, through her officer, Festus Okoye Esq., in exhibits BI and B2 as earlier reproduced in this judgment.
“At the risk of being repetitive, Festus Okoye Esq. has stated in the said exhibit that in addition, the commission could not rule out infractions by its registration officials in allowing these ineligible persons into the register in the first place.
“He promised that each confirmed case of infraction will be thoroughly investigated and culpable officials will be disciplined.
“It was also admitted by the defendant in Exhibit B1 that several double, multiple, and ineligible registrants have also been detected and invalidated. These include entries that fail to meet the commission’s business rules.”
The commission takes this responsibility seriously because a credible register is at the heart of electoral integrity.”