Bakassi sues INEC over alleged disenfranchisement
People of Bakassi in Cross River State have dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the state to the Federal High Court in Calabar over alleged disenfranchisement.
Since the loss of Bakassi 20 years ago, INEC in its atlas and directory still maintains old Bakassi wards in the new Bakassi, making thousands of Bakassi people disenfranchised for years, as there is no law legalising the RAs as wards in Nigeria.
The state government had, in an attempt to legalise the 10 wards in Nigeria and ensure that elections were conducted there, created three Ikang wards (Ikang South, Ikang North and Ikang Central) of Bakassi through Law Number 7, 2007 of Cross River State. But INEC had disallowed election in the new wards created by the state from Akpabuyo to make up as new wards under the New Bakassi law following the ceding of the main Bakassi to Cameroon. It challenged the action and secured a Supreme Court judgment that set aside Law Number 7 of the state, rendering it null and void.
Worried by this disenfranchisement, the Bakassi people in Suit No: FHC/CA/CS/39/2022 filed by Dr. Joseph Adim Bassey, Chief Eyo Ita Eyo Ndem, Mr. Dominic Aqua Edem, Chief Eneyo Eyo and Chief Antigha Cobham (for themselves and on behalf of the people of Bakassi Council), among other things, are asking the court for the determination of the following questions: “Whether upon a careful construction of Law No. 7 and the judgment of the Supreme Court in Suit No. SC/311/2014, the 1st defendant (INEC) is duty-bound to activate its power under S. 114 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) to alter Bakassi State Constituency to comprise Ikang North, Ikang South and Ikang Central of Bakassi Council as created by Law No, 7.”
The Bakassi people, who are the plaintiffs, are also seeking declarations “that the 1st defendant is duty-bound by virtue of the judgment of the Supreme Court in Suit No SC/311/2014 to activate its power under Section 114 of the 1999 Constitution to alter Bakassi State constituency to comprise Ikang North, Ikang South and Ikang Central of Bakassi Local Government Area as created by Law No. 7.”