A Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a suit seeking to stop the general election over the exclusion of Nigerians in diaspora from voting.
Delivering judgment on Wednesday, Inyang Ekwo, the presiding judge, held that the suit lacked merit.
judge also held that the right to vote in elections was not guaranteed by the country’s laws for Nigerians living abroad, the Cable News reports.
“The court does not enact laws. It cannot also expand the law in order to accommodate an issue before it, no matter how sympathetic or humanitarian the cause or situation is,” the court held.
“It only interprets and expounds the laws, and it is the law as stated before in this judgment, that when interpreting the provisions of a statute, the court must not ascribe meanings to clear, plain and unambiguous provisions in order to make such provisions conform to the court’s view of their meanings or what they ought to be.”
The judge said by the provisions of sections 77(2) and 117(2) of the 1999 constitution (as amended), the right to vote is reserved for Nigerian citizens resident in Nigeria.
“The right to vote for a president or governor is tied to the right to vote in an election of any legislative house, going by the provisions of sections 132(5) and 178(5) of the 1999 constitution (as amended),” the judge added.
Ekwo also raised concerns over the filing of the suit three months to the general election.
“The applicants can only be commended for bringing this matter to the fore. However, the court is not where the solution lies for now,” he said.
“What this case has revealed is that there is lacuna in the existing law with respect to the right of Nigerians in the diaspora to votes in elections in Nigeria.”