Sunday, July 14, 2024

BVAS: Peter Obi’s Labour Party Can’t Scan Or Make Copies Of Election Materials

The Court of Appeal on Wednesday rejected Peter Obi’s application to scan and make copies of the election materials from INEC’s database.

The three-member panel held that granting the order sought by Mr Obi will hamper the elections slated for Saturday (the March 11 elections have been postponed to March 18).

The Justice Joseph Ikyegh-led panel faulted Mr Obi and the Labour Party for repeating their request to scan and make copies of the electoral materials in INEC’s possession.

The court held that granting the order would amount to tying down the hands of the electoral body and preventing it from carrying out the functions assigned to it by the 1999 Constitution.

The court ordered INEC on March 3 to allow the applicants to inspect and conduct a digital forensic examination of all the electoral materials used in the elections and to avail them of the Certified True Copy of the result of the physical inspection of the BVAS.

The panel held that the request was earlier granted, adding that repeating the prayer amounted to an abuse of the court process.

INEC had insisted that reconfiguring the BVAS was necessary since they would be deployed for the next round of elections on Saturday.

The commission added that without a prompt variation of the order, the court earlier granted to Mr Obi and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, especially the aspect restraining it from tampering with the information contained in the BVAS, it would be difficult for it to proceed with the scheduled elections INEC.

Mr Obi and his party had, in their application marked CA/PEC/09m/23, sought permission to be allowed to conduct a physical inspection of all the BVAS devices used for the presidential poll.

The applicants, through their team of lawyers led by Onyechi Ikpeazu, said the essence of the application was to enable them to extract data embedded in the BVAS, “which represent the actual results from Polling Units.”

They specifically applied for “leave to carry out a digital forensic and physical inspection of BVAS, among others,” and to obtain the CTC of all the data in the BVAS.

While opposing the application, INEC, through its lawyer, Tanimu Inuwa, told the court that 176,000 BVAS devices were deployed to polling units during the February 25 elections.

“Each polling unit has its own particular BVAS machine which will need to be reconfigured for the forthcoming elections. It will be very difficult for us, within the period, to reconfigure the 176,000 BVAS,” stated the lawyer. “We have already stated in our affidavit that no information in the BVAS will be lost. We need the BVAS reconfigured.

Mr Inuwa added, “So, granting this application will be a cog in the process and may delay the conduct of the elections.”


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