Court dismisses suit seeking to stop voting, exams on Saturdays

THE Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a suit to stop the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and educational institutions from conducting elections and exams on Saturdays in Nigeria.

A member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Ugochukwu Uchenwa, filed the suit.

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He asked the court to rule that scheduling examinations and elections for Saturdays was unlawful.

One of the reliefs the plaintiff sought was an order “restraining the 5th to 8th respondents from scheduling and conducting compulsory public examinations on Saturdays, without making an option for the members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to write their exams on days other than Saturdays.”

The plaintiff also requested that the defendants grant him and other churchgoers permission to vote or take exams on any other day of the week, including Sundays.

He asked the court to issue an injunction prohibiting INEC from continuing to infringe on the rights of Seventh-day Adventist Church members by scheduling elections on Saturdays.

Alternatively, if the INEC cannot hold the polls or conduct exams on a day other than Saturdays, Uchenwa wanted “an order for the INEC to mark out a different day for his church members to participate in their own election.”

Included as defendants in the lawsuit are President Bola Tinubu, the Attorney General of the Federation, INEC, and the Minister of Internal Affairs.

The list also contained the National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB), the National Examination Council (NECO), the West African Examination Council (WAEC), and the Joint Admission and Matriculation Examinations (JAMB), among others.

The judge, James Omotosho, ruled that the lawsuit was frivolous and that the plaintiff had not shown sufficient justification for any of the reliefs he requested from the court.

Omotosho stated that the plaintiff could not provide the court with a plausible basis for action in the case.



    He had set March 20 for ruling on the case two months ago after hearing arguments from both sides.

    At the sitting in January, the plaintiff’s lawyer, Benjamin Amaefule, told the court that his client was only seeking to enforce his fundamental right to freedom of education and participation in elections.

    Responding on behalf of the President and the AGF, Maimuna Shiru told the court that her clients had filed a 17-paragraph statement opposing the claims.

    After confirming they had received proper notice of the hearing, Omotosho listened to the case and set a judgment date of March 20.

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