The court of appeal has refused to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from reconfiguring the bimodal voter accreditation system (BVAS) ahead of the governorship and state assembly elections.
In the ruling delivered on Wednesday, a three-member panel of the court of appeal led by Joseph Ikyegh held that restraining the electoral commission would constrain INEC from conducting the March 11 elections, The Cable reports
Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s (LP) presidential candidate, requested a court order “restraining the 1st respondent (INEC) from tampering with the information embedded in the BVAS machines until the due inspection is completed and certified true copies (CTC) of them issued” in an application.
On Friday, Labour Party’s Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar of the PDP secured leave of the court to have access to all the sensitive materials used by the INEC in the conduct of the election held on February 25.
However, INEC applied to vary the orders of the court.
Tanimu Inuwa, counsel to the INEC, spoke on Tuesday while moving an application seeking to vary the orders of the court, which permitted Obi and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to inspect all the sensitive materials used in the conduct of the presidential election held on February 25.
“We have already stated in our affidavit that no information in the BVAS will be lost as we will transfer all the data in the BVAS to our backend server. Our backend server preserves the data. So, granting this application will be a clog in the process and disrupt the conduct of the elections.”
The court, doubling as the presidential election petitions tribunal, said granting the sixth relief in the application would amount to “tying the hands of the respondent (INEC)”.
LP and PDP permitted to carry out a digital forensic inspection of BVAS
The court also refused to grant INEC’s request to vary the orders of the court granted on March 3, stating that the commission failed to specify which of the orders it wished to vary.
The court also emphasised that it never granted Obi and LP permission to access the database of INEC as misconceived by the electoral body. However, INEC must provide forensic data to the parties as transferred to their server.
The court permitted Peter Obi and LP to do electronic scanning and/or make photocopies of voter registration and ballot papers used in the election. They were also granted permission to carry out a digital forensic inspection of BVAS machines used for the conduct of the February 25 election for the president’s office.
Read also: “We have intensified the review of the technology” -INEC says BVAS will run optimally for March 11 elections
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