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President Buhari and Minister of Justice Approach Supreme Court for Interpretation of Electoral Amendment Act 2022

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President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, have filed a suit at the Supreme Court, seeking an interpretation of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Amendment Act 2022, which has been a subject of intense litigation and political debate in Nigeria since President Buhari signed the amended Electoral Act 2022 into law in February, this year.

In the suit marked “SC/CV/504/2022”, filed on April 29, Buhari and Malami, who are the plaintiffs, listed the National Assembly as the sole defendant while seeking an order from the apex court to strike out the section of the Electoral Act, which they argue was inconsistent with the nation’s Constitution.

According to the court document, the plaintiffs argue that Section 84 (12) of the Electoral (Amendment) Act, 2022 is inconsistent with the provisions of Sections 42, 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended), as well Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and People and Peoples Rights.

The plaintiffs also contended that the Constitution already provides qualification and disqualification for the offices of the President and Vice President, Governor and Deputy Governor, Senate and House of Representatives, House of Assembly, Ministers, Commissioners, and Special Advisers.

They urged the Supreme Court to make: “A declaration that the joint and or combined reading of section 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended), the provision of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022, which also ignores Section 84(3) of the same Act, is an additional qualifying and/or disqualifying factor for the National Assembly, House of Assembly, Gubernatorial and Presidential elections as enshrined in the said constitution, hence unconstitutional, unlawful, null and void.”

In the same vein, the National Assembly has asked the Supreme Court to strike out the suit instituted by President Buhari. In their counter-affidavit, filed by its lawyer, Kayode Ajulo, the National Assembly said the Supreme Court cannot be summoned to amend the provision or validity of any law made by lawmakers in the exercise of their legislative powers as granted by the Constitution. They argued that the 1999 Constitution, as amended, gave the National Assembly the power to make laws for good governance in Nigeria.

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