The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been slammed with a lawsuit by some elders of the Rivers State Chapter of the Seventh Day Adventist Church over the body’s persistent holding of elections on Saturday.
The Federal Government and the Attorney General of the Federation were also petitioned in the joint suit by the church.
The applicants, Emeka Anyabelem, Asonye Onwudebe, Felix Minikwu and Chinedu Omesurum, said conducting elections on Saturday violates their rights to worship while such move also disenfranchises members of their church.
In the suit, PHC/2836/2018, the applicants implored the court to rule against holding elections on Saturdays as it is tantamount to a violation of the rights of members of the church.
The suit read in part: “A declaration that the applicants’ known day of worship being Saturday, they are entitled to their freedom of religion and worship on Saturdays unhindered or by any means, whatsoever, under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
“A declaration that the fixing/scheduling of the 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections on Saturday, February 16, 2019, and the governorship and state Assembly elections/Federal Capital Territory (FCT) council elections on Saturday, March 2, by the first respondent, in concert with the second and third respondents, constitute a violation of the applicants’ fundamental rights to freedom of religion.”
The applicants said their rights being violated are guaranteed under Section 38 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, and Article 8 of the African Charter on Human and People’s (Enforcement and Ratification) Act, Cap A9.
The counsel to the applicants, Ahamefule Owurre, pleaded for an adjournment of the case in order to prepare a detailed argument on the counter affidavit of the defence.
He said the desire of the applicants is that elections be fixed between Monday and Thursday to allow many people to participate in the electioneering process.
The trial judge, Justice M. Danagogo, adjourned the case till December 18, for motions.
However, the trial judge, Justice M. Danagogo, adjourned the matter till December 18, for motions.