The Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), has faulted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), over what they termed the purported deregistration of 74 political parties, saying the action is against the provisions of the law.
Recall that the INEC National Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu while announcing the de-registration said only 18 parties will now participate in future elections in the country, saying the body has the constitutional powers to de-register parties.
But the IPAC, in a statement issued by its National Legal Adviser, Ezeobika Chukwudi , urged the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu to reverse the decision to avoid infringing on the rights of political parties as guaranteed under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As amended).
The statement reads: “The Inter Party Advisory Council of Nigeria, IPAC, views with serious concerns, the recent decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission in de-registering 74 political parties without observing due process and provisions of the law.
“The Inter Party Advisory Council of Nigeria is aware of an action instituted at the Federal High Court by 33 political parties, who are members of the Council in Suit Number FHC/ABJ/CS/444/2019 filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja seeking amongst other things, an Order restraining the INEC from deregistering concerned political parties pending the determination of the suit.
“The Federal High Court, upon hearing the motion for an interlocutory injunction on the 23rd of January, 2020, adjourned for ruling on February 17, 2020. It is however, reprehensible on the part of INEC to take such decision which is an affront on the judiciary, an abuse of the Court Process and a conscious disregard for the Rule of law.
“By the action purportedly taken by INEC today, the Council is of a firm view that INEC as an institution no longer has regard or respect for the Rule of Law in Nigeria and has lost the confidence of political parties in the political affairs of the Nation.
“The Council hereby calls on the Independent National Electoral Commission, to immediately reverse the purported decision in order not to infringe on the rights of political parties as guaranteed under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“By the Provisions of Sections 221 – 229, no provision is inferior or superior to the other. Section 229 defines a political party to include an association whose activities shall include canvassing for votes in support of a candidate for election into a Local Government Council.
“Furthermore, INEC as an institution ought to have been responsible enough to have waited until elections are held in all 774 LGAs and 8,809 Electoral Wards in Nigeria, after the signing of the 4th Alteration to the Constitution on June 4th 2018, before assuming that a party has not won any elective position. It is however imperative to state that we must, as individuals or agencies of government, be careful not to foist a fait accomplish on the Court.
“It is important to reemphasize the fact that 33 political parties, who are members of the Council, moved a motion in Court 3, at the Federal High Court in Abuja for an Order of interlocutory injunction restraining INEC from deregistering the concerned political Parties, pending the determination of the Suit.
“The court adjourned for Ruling on February 17th, 2020 but the Independent National Electoral Commission proceeded in error to foist a state of helplessness on the court.
“This is an affront on the judiciary and must be discouraged. The Council calls on INEC to listen to the voice of reason and immediately reverse itself on this action,” IPAC stated.
Bayelsa Assembly Committee on Environment To Curb Unlawful Sand Dredging Activities.
With various complaints and pettitions by communities impacted by the activities of illegal sand dredging and mining in the Bayelsa State, the state House of Assembly has organised a public hearing on a bill to regulate the operations of sand dredging to ensure that the environment is not adversely impacted on.
The bill tagged ” Regulation of Sand Dealing and Dredging Operations Bill 2019″ according to the House Committee on Environment is aimed at gathering inputs from experts, technocrats and the public in order to formulate a people-friendly bill that will serve the best interest of Bayelsans.
The House Committee Chairman on Environment and member representing Nembe Constituency one, Hon. Ebi Ben Ololo noted that the public hearing became necessary on the need to remediate the environment and tackle the challenges posed by sand dredging operations in the state.
” The importance of this bill cannot be overemphasized because it can save lives. You are aware a number of times so many communities and their representatives have sent pettitions to this House, specifically the Chairman House Committee on Environment as per the environmental degradation that has taken place as regards the illegal sand dealing and dredging activities in various communities all around the state”, he said.
“With those number of complains and pettitions we thought it wise to put up a bill to take care of those issues. Most important thing is that we all know that public hearing is a mechanism by which parliamentary Committees obtain information, deal with the information obtained and also exchange views with experts and the public so as to fine-tune whatever bill there is for the public hearing to come up with a top class bill that will be people- friendly and also save lives of the people in Bayelsa”, he added.
” Lots of suggestions, contributions, opinions and interactions have been made as regards this very important bill, like we have assured the representatives of the various groups that we will go back in our committee, look at those very important areas where they have suggested and also fine tune the bill. So that in no distant time we will come up with a very formidable bill that will stand the test of time. That the people will benefit from”, Ololo reassured.
He lauded participants for their insightful contributions and opinions during the public hearing, promising that the Committee would do justice to come up with a bill that would meet the expectations of Bayelsans.
In her contribution, House Chief Whip and member representing Yenagoa Constituency 2, Hon. Ebiowu Koku Obiyai lamented the deliberate connivance between communities and the sand dealers, warning that if nothing is done to regulate the activities of sand dredgers Bayelsa communities will be eroded away.
The House Whip also expressed concerns on the activities of companies carrying out dredging business near bridges and sued a delibrate efforts by all in order to save the bridges from collapse.
By Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa.
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