HURILAW advocates inclusion of card reader in Constitution, Electoral Act
Human Rights Law Services (HURILAWS) has called for the amendment of the electoral act in order to recognize the use of Card Reader during accreditation of voters as well as for the card reader reports to be recognized as part of admissible evidence in proof of electoral malpractices such as over-voting.
HURILAW made the call in Lagos during a press conference addressed by its senior programme officer, Mr. Collins Okeke to examine judicial application of 2015 election laws in Nigeria.
It said such amendments would streamline and strictly regulate the electoral process of nomination of candidates during party primaries as well.
According to the group, part of the reform being proposed would include limiting the quantum of nomination fees payable by prospective candidates. It would, HURILAW said, reduce the spate of pre-election disputes/litigations and curtail the undue monetization of politics in Nigeria.
The non governmental organisation said: “While it may be admitted that the 2015 general elections produced better outputs than previous elections in Nigeria, there remain critical issues that need to be urgently addressed towards strengthening the credibility of the electoral process and the validity of its outcomes.
“Changes must inevitably be allowed to address not only the rampant challenges and difficulties experienced on election days, but also the drawbacks of the pre and post election stages.”
The group further suggested a merger of accreditation and voting process on election day so as to ex-perdite the election process and significantly curb the incidence of over-voting and other malpractices.
Okeke said: Section 285 of the 1999 Constitution and Section 134 of the Electoral Act need to be amended to provide exceptions to the election petition timelines. The Electoral Act, especially section 137, need to be amended to afford locus standi to the electorate to bring election petitions. However, Tribunals may also be empowered to consider and summarily dismiss in chambers frivolous petitions and petitions on issues already being canvassed in another petition or which should be more appropriately canvassed by a party to the election.”
He said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should ensure that card readers deployed for elections are pre-tested, are of higher quality and user friendly.