The Court of Appeal in Nigeria in a judgement affirmed that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC can proceed with the recall process of Senator Dino Melaye, representing Kogi West senatorial district in the National Assembly.
It would be recalled that Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of a lower court sitting in Abuja, had on September 11, 2017 dismissed a suit filed by Senator Melaye, asking the court to stop INEC from initiating his recall from the National Assembly.
In the ruling, Justice Dimgba held that Melaye’s complaints were ‘hasty, premature and presumptuous” and therefore ordered the INEC to proceed with its planned verification exercise.
Not satisfied by the judgement, the Lawmaker proceeded to the appellate court and challenged the order made by the lower court.
In a judgement delivered by Justice Tunde Awotoye, the appellate Court dismissed all the grounds of appeal filed by Senator Melaye.
The appellate court held that the 90 days period provided by the Constitution for INEC to commence the process of recall can be extended, since it has not started to run.
He added that the powers of INEC is a statutorily given by the Constitution, stressing that even the court cannot take away the powers of INEC to conduct a referendum.
On the issue that he was denied fair hearing, Justice Awotoye also dismissed the claim. He said that INEC is neither a tribunal nor a court of law.
“Such statutory bodies like the INEC should be allowed to exercise their statutory powers without interference by the court” he said.