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Appeal Court reverses INEC’s deregistration of 22 parties


The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Monday reversed the deregistration of 22 political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The parties were among the 74 political parties de-registered on February 6, 2020, by INEC, for not meeting the necessary constitutional requirements.

Delivering judgment, the court’s president, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, unanimously held that INEC ignored due process in exercising its powers under Section 225(a) of the Constitution (as amended).

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The appellate court held that not only was the affected political parties already in court before INEC exercised its constitutional powers to de-register a party, but it also failed to inform the parties why they could no longer exist.

In the lead judgment by Justice Dongban-Mensem, the Court of Appeal held that the de-registration of the appellants was illegal because INEC failed to comply with due process of law.

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The appellate court equally held that INEC’s action was not in compliance with the provisions of Section 225(a) of the Constitution because it (INEC) did not indicate reasons for its decision to de-register the appellants.

The court noted that Section 40 of the Constitution entitles citizens to the freedom of association, and as such, the right conferred on a political party cannot be taken away except in accordance with the provisions of the law and due process.

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