PEPT: Court Adjourns, Mandates INEC to Allow Physical Examination of BVAS

The Court of Appeal has mandated the Independent National Electoral Commission to allow the Labour Party counsels access to examine the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS as Barrister Awa Kalu, SAN, the lead counsel to Peter Obi and the Labour Party insisted that the Commission has denied them access.

The five-member panel of Judges handling the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja led by Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani insisted that it has recorded it and adjourned the court proceedings to Tuesday, 23rd of May, 2023.

“With almost humility my lord, we are supposed to check on documents and also run forensics on BVAs but as I speak with you, we have not even seen the BVAs not to even say accessibility of the BVAs,” Awa, SAN.

The petitioners also revealed it needed 7 weeks to argue their cases but the five-member panel of Judges led by Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani disclosed that the Judges needed time to write their reports and proposed 6 weeks for the cases.

Responding Justice Bolaji said, “Learned silk, it is our duty to give all parties the opportunity and equal rights to carry out their duty. If you stand by your 7 weeks, this court will be left with only 4 days to make a judgment and I am sure that as a very senior member of the bar, you would not want that, on an issue as severe as this to the nation.”

Continuing, Barrister Kalu, SAN, argues that its team can finish and present a report in 14 days if the documents requested from INEC are provided. Justice Tsammani made it clear that physical examination is the right of every petitioner and thus charged INEC to comply.

However, INEC reiterated that the petitioner can inspect the BVAS but insisted that it won’t see anything as all documents have been transferred.

In response, INEC lead counsel Kenny Piyero, SAN, said, “Petitioners are allowed to use whatever time within the law but I have spoken with learned silk, some more documents are waiting for their collection within the states upon payments of the requisite fees.

“In respect of the BVAs Machine, every data has been transferred backend, and the information contained in those machines has been given to them.

Whatever they require has been made available to them and they cannot do a physical transfer of the BVAs except if they want to look at the Governorship results.”

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