Nigerians in diaspora ask court to compel INEC to register them for 2023 polls

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Nigerians living abroad have asked a federal high court in Abuja to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to register them as voters in the 2023 general election.

Chikwe Nkemnacho and Kenneth Nkemnacho, the plaintiffs who live in the UK, instituted the case on behalf of other Nigerians in diaspora.

INEC, chairman of INEC, president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the Federal Republic of Nigeria are listed as first to fourth defendants, respectfully.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/2119/2022 and filed before Inyang Ekwo, the presiding judge, the plaintiffs asked the court to order INEC and the federal government to suspend campaigning for the 2023 elections until they are included as registered voters for the polls.


Additionally, they asked the court to rule that, in accordance with sections 13, 14, 42, and 17 of the 1999 constitution, those of them who are of voting age are entitled to take part in the electoral process by registering to vote in 2023 and in all elections, regardless of their place of residence.

They further sought a court declaration that there is still sufficient time for INEC to comply with provisions of sections 13, 14 and 15 of the 1999 constitution.

They argued that unless they are allowed to vote in the 2023 elections and subsequent ones, their fundamental rights as enshrined in the 1999 constitution would be grossly violated.


The suit came up for mention during the court session on Tuesday.

The judge, thereafter, adjourned the matter till January 19 for further mention and to allow the defendants file their respective responses.

The development comes months after Zubairu Dada, minister of state for foreign affairs, said Nigerians in the diaspora will soon be able to vote from their countries of residence.

“The national assembly is working closely with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to fashion a way to actualise diaspora voting. I remain very optimistic that in the not-too-distant future, it should be possible for Nigerians in the diaspora to participate in our national elections,” Dada had said.

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