Lawan rejects court order on amendment of Electoral Act
• As Senate tasks INEC on voting rights for prison inmates
• Panel commends progress at State House clinic
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, yesterday, rejected the Federal High Court Abuja ruling that barred President Muhammadu Buhari, Attorney General of the Federation and himself from tampering with the newly amended Electoral Act 2022.
He said the order could not stop the National Assembly from amending the Electoral Act.
In a ruling delivered by Inyang Ekwo on an ex-parte application by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), President Muhammadu Buhari, Attorney General of the Federation and President of the Senate were barred from tampering with the amended Electoral Act 2022.
The Court maintained that the Electoral Act having become a valid law could not be altered without following the due process of law.
The Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, in a letter dated February 28, 2022, requested the National Assembly to amend the Electoral Act.
He had drawn the attention of upper legislative chamber to the provisions of Section 84(12), which, according to him, constitutes a ‘defect’ conflicting with extant constitutional provisions.
During yesterday’s plenary, Lawan brought the order to the chamber after the Electoral Act Amendment Bill had scaled first reading.
He said same order violated the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) on Separation of Powers, adding that it was necessary to talk about at this point because the constitution is based on the presidential system of government with clear-cut separation and exercise of powers.
On his part, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who cited Order 52(5) of the Senate Standing Order, urged the Senate to abide by the court ruling, but in his verdict on the order raised by Ekweremadu, said, “this has nothing to do what happens in the court.”
BESIDES, the Senate has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make provision for eligible inmates in prisons to exercise their franchise during general elections in Nigeria.
The lawmakers urged the Electoral umpire to determine the status of inmates, who are qualified to be registered as eligible voters and should vote at elections.
It also urged the Commission and relevant agencies to carry out voter’s enlightenment in all prisons in Nigeria, to educate the inmates of their rights and necessity to exercise their franchise in general elections.
The Senate also asked INEC and all relevant agencies to update voter register to accommodate prison inmates for the purpose of elections.
MEANWHILE, Senate Committee on Federal Character and Intergovernmental Affairs, yesterday, expressed satisfaction at the progress of work on the N20.8 billion Presidential Wing of the State House Clinic in Aso Villa, scheduled for completion in December 2022.
The Guardian learnt the Chief of Staff (COS) to President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, had laid the foundation for the construction of the Presidential wing of the State House Clinic, Abuja.
This followed the President’s approved of a site for the construction of the clinic to be cited within around the Aso Villa.