Law compelling INEC to upload results underway – Senate

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The Senate has revealed a plan to make the uploading of election results online by the  Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) mandatory.

The announcement is coming on the heel of the controversy that greeted the decision of the electoral body not to upload the results on its portal, particularly the results of the presidential election.

This became a subject of controversy at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) which ultimately dragged on to the Supreme Court where it was decided that INEC  was not compelled by law to upload results.

But speaking Tuesday on Channels TV, Chairman Senate Committee on Electoral Matters Sharafadeen Alli said there is the need to make a law compelling the INEC to upload the election results online real time.

The lawmaker said the committee was currently  working to amend the law to this effect.

“That is one of the things that we are going to do. Under the current law, it is not mandatory for INEC to upload results; that is what the court has said. But as we are going forward, it is going to be mandatory,” Alli said.

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Speaking further on other plans on electoral reforms being considered by the red chamber, the committee chair  said it was proposing a law that would make it compulsory for the  resolution of  all pre-election matters before the exercise as well as the upgrade of  election technology.

He said: “We looked at elections and election petitions. In terms of legislation about election petitions, we think all pre-election matters were resolved before the election.

“We are also looking at a situation where election petitions are concluded before swearing in. We are thinking of approving the time within which to file and conclude election petitions so that somebody will not be sworn in, that is what led us into having these off-cycle elections. There would have been no need for it if we were able to conclude election petitions before the swearing-in.

“We are looking at the development of technology and improvement on technology because a lot of Nigerians were disappointed when the use of the IReV didn’t work, but going forward we will try to ensure INEC do something about that.”

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…Revision of Laws of Federation too 

In a related development, the Senate Tuesday  mandated its Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to interface with the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation to initiate the process of revising the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004.

This followed a motion by Senator Kaka Shehu Lawan (APC, Borno Central) during plenary.

In  the motion, the lawmaker  argued that  Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) was an alphabetical compilation of laws operative in Nigeria which are updated regularly.

 The compilation of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria was carried out under the authority of the Attorney General of the Federation, subject to the approval of the National Assembly through an Act.

Shehu said the statutes in the LFN were enacted in different years before and after Nigeria’s independence even though they were all cited aLead Twos “LFN 2004”.

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He said the LFN had remained unrevised for almost two decades, with the implication that the several laws enacted in Nigeria from 1 January 2003 till date remain excluded from the compilation.

The lawmaker said there was an attempt to revise the LFN in 2010 but that the effort had no legal framework of the National Assembly approving it.

He also expressed concern that the continued non-revision of LFN had not only left numerous statutes out of the compilation, but also retained many repealed statutes with attendant confusion and other negative impacts.

According to him, the non-compilation of the several federal statutes leads to a dearth of knowledge of many existing laws on the part of Nigerians, especially students, lecturers, researchers, lawyers, legislators, and judges among others.

He said the revision of LFN was long overdue and as such will be in the interest of democratic governance in Nigeria to commence the revision process without further delay. (Blueprint)

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