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Nigerian Bar Association reacts to postponement of elections by INEC!

NBA suspends General Secretary for gross misconduct

The Nigerian Bar Association has reacted to INEC’s decision to postpone the 2015 General Elections by six weeks; in the light of the security advice it received from Security Agencies.

In a statement to the media, the President of the association, Augustine Alegeh, SAN noted that the security advisory indeed left INEC with no option than to postpone the elections.

It said, “INEC can certainly not be expected to proceed with the elections without the required security support. The new dates of 28th March and 11th April, 2015 fixed by INEC fall within the timeline provided in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 [as amended] CFRN. We advise INEC to utilize the said six [6] week period to resolve the challenges surrounding the issuance of Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs).”

Also noting that there were still about 20 million PVCs yet to be collected by Voters with some PVCs still being produced and/or awaiting delivery at this time, Alegeh called on INEC, to do all it could to ensure proper distribution and collection of PVCs by all registered voters in Nigeria.

“We restate our call on INEC, to request the Federal Government of Nigeria to declare a minimum of two work free days to enable voters collect their PVCs from their polling stations. INEC should also ensure that PVCs are produced for all voters whose names appear on the Voters’ Register,” the Bar president said.

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According to him, the PVCs were central to the success of the 2015 General Elections and to this end, INEC must apply its best endeavours to ensure that all problems in respect of PVCs are resolved well before the 28th of March, 2015.

“Our entire democratic experience depends on the success of the 2015 General Elections and INEC must ensure that everything necessary is put in place for a successful 2015 General Elections,” Alegeh stated further.

The NBA also acknowledged that the Security Advisory relied upon by INEC in postponing the 2015 General Elections indicates that Nigerian security forces are aggressively combating the Boko Haram insurgency; expecting to totally eliminate the insurgents and secure the North Eastern States of Nigeria in the next six [6] weeks.

“The NBA hopes however, that this security advisory is not just to provide basis for postponing the elections as is being suggested in certain quarters, but represents the true and correct position of our security forces in their efforts to rid our Country of the Boko Haram insurgency.

“We await a positive and successful outcome of the security forces onslaught against Boko Haram as indicated in the security advisory. Our security agencies must understand the disappointment of several groups who have expressed their reservations on the postponement of the elections as a result of the security advisory,” the bar leader said.

In its closing, the NBA urged the security forces to deal decisively with the insurgency, so as to resolve any lingering doubts about the good faith of the security advisory. “If indeed the Boko Haram menace is routed in the next six weeks, all Nigerians will then appreciate and celebrate our security forces!”

Theodora Kio-Lawson