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March 11 Elections: INEC To Reconfigure BVAS, Seek Court Permission

The Independent National Electoral Commission says it will approach the Appeal Court on Monday for an order to allow it to reconfigure its Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for the March 11 elections.

On Sunday, a credible source in the commission revealed that the order was significant following an order restraining it from tampering with the information embedded in the BVAS machines until the due inspection was conducted and certified true copies of them issued.

The source, who requested anonymity, said INEC would require sufficient time to reconfigure the BVAS needed to conduct the elections that would take place on Saturday.

“The commission’s legal department is actually preparing an application to be filled in the court on Monday to seek an order for it to reconfigure its BVAS for Saturday governorship and state houses of assembly elections,” the source said.

The source explained that considering the number of BVAS required to conduct the election across states, INEC needed to reconfigure the BVAS used for the March 25 elections and deploy them to polling units for the Saturday election.

The source added that INEC technical team have to be deployed on time to commence the re-configuration of the device, which has to be done one by one.

The source explained that the order was important if the Saturday governorship and state parliamentary elections must hold as scheduled, otherwise the postponement of the election became inevitable.

On Friday, the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal granted leave to the presidential candidates of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, and his Peoples Democratic Party counterpart, Atiku Abubakar, to have access to all the sensitive materials used by INEC for the conduct of the February 25 presidential election.

A panel of the appellate court led by Justice Joseph Ikyegh made the order after it heard two separate ex parte applications the two aggrieved presidential candidates filed alongside their political parties.

Specifically, the applicants urged the court to compel INEC to allow them to obtain documents it used for the presidential election to aid their petitions against the outcome of the presidential election.

“An order granting the applicants’ permission to do electronic scanning and make photocopies of voter’s registration, ballot papers used in the conduct of the election for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria held on the February 25,” said the court document. “An order granting leave to the applicants to carry out Digital Forensic Inspection of BVAS machines used for the conduct of the February 25 election for the Office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

The plaintiffs also sought an order restraining INEC “from tampering with the information embedded in the BVAS machines until due inspection was conducted and Certified True Copies of them issued.”

The court, in its consideration, ordered INEC to allow the applicants to inspect all the electoral materials used in the conduct of the presidential election.

The court permitted the appellants to do electronic scanning and or make photocopies of the voter’s registration and ballot papers used in the presidential election.

“That leave is hereby granted to the applicants to carry out digital forensic inspection of BVAS machines used for the conduct of the February 25, 2023 Election for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the court had ordered.

NAN

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