ABUJA-Determined to make the federal government comply with court judgment on elections, the All Progressives Congress yesterday wrote a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan and the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega asking him to give heed to the judgment barring the involvement of soldiers in elections.
The letter, dated February 16, 2015 emanated from the Director, Legal Services of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume (SAN)
Though it was addressed to Jega, copies of the letter were also made available to President Jonathan, the National Security Adviser, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Air Staff and the National Chairmen of the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party.
APC in the letter called the attention of the federal government to a judgment delivered on January 29, 2015 by Justice R.M. Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Sokoto and another by the Court of Appeal, Abuja, on February 16, 2015 which overruled the use of military in elections.
The letter read in parts, “I am sure all well-meaning Nigerians share your deep seated concern on the militarisation of our elections.
“It is therefore imperative your good office and commission ensure, henceforth, and until there is an enabling Act of the National Assembly, the court orders are obeyed and armed forces personnel are never again deployed in any form of security supervision of our elections.”
Justice Aikawa of the Federal High Court in his judgment on the suit marked: FHC/S/CS/29/2014 among others, restrained the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and INEC “from engaging the service of the Nigerian armed forces in the security supervision of elections in any manner whatsoever in any part of Nigeria, without the Act of the National Assembly.”
Justice Abdul Aboki, in his lead judgment in the Ekiti State Governorship Election appeal on February 16, held that “even the President of Nigeria has no powers to call on the Nigerian armed forces and to unleash them on peaceful citizens, who are exercising their franchise to elect their leaders.
“Whoever unleashed soldiers on Ekiti State, disturbed the peace of the election on June 21, 2014; acted in flagrant breach of the constitution and flouted the provisions of the Electoral Act, which required an enabling environment by civil authorities in the conduct of elections.”