Professional Services

Court declares Monetary deposit for elective offices illegal

by Editor

December 7, 2017 | 12:05 am
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The Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu has held that demanding money from citizens as pecuniary deposit to contest for elective positions at the local government tier of government amounts to the violation of the right of Nigerians to participate freely in governance in accordance with the provisions of the law.

The lead judgment of the Court of Appeal, Enugu Judicial Division prepared by the Hon. Justice H. M. Ogunwumiju, and delivered on the 4th day of December 2017, followed a public interest suit filed by a member of African Peoples Alliance (APA) in Enugu State, Obiora Nnaike at the High Court of Enugu State against the Attorney General of Enugu State, Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission and Enugu State House of Assembly in the suit with number E/97/2015.

The appeal which came before the Court of Appeal with appeal number CA/E/180/2016, was brought by the appellant to challenge the provisions of section 152(1) (f) and (g) of the Local Government Law of Enugu State 2004, which law empowers Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) to collect pecuniary deposit from Nigerian citizens desirous of vying for elective positions in the local government councils of Enugu State before such citizens could be allowed to do that, for being inconsistent with the provisions of article 13(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement)Act; and also to challenge the provisions of section 8(b) and 21(b) of the Local Government Law of Enugu State which stipulates different age as the age requirement one has to attain before one could be eligible to vie for a political office at the local government tier of government in Enugu State, as being inconsistent with the provisions of section 7(4) of the Nigerian Constitution.

The Court of Appeal, while allowing the appeal in part, held that the provisions of section 152(1)(f)and(g) of the Local Government Law of Enugu State 2004 which empowers ENSIEC to collect deposit from Nigerian citizens desirous of vying for political offices at the local government tier of government in Enugu State, violates the provisions of article 13(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement)Act, as the concerned provisions of section 152(1)(f)and(g) of Enugu State Local Government Law of 2004, will empower only the rich members of the society to vie for political offices. The Court of Appeal held that article 13(1) of the African Charter which guarantees citizens free participation in government in accordance with the provisions of the law would not be deemed to have been respected, if citizens are required to pay money in the form of deposit to electoral umpires before they could stand for elective offices in local government councils in Nigeria.


by Editor

December 7, 2017 | 12:05 am
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