Tribunal Grants Atiku, PDP Access to Inspect INEC Materials

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*Says no to forensic analysis

By Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on Wednesday granted former Vice President,
Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) permission to inspect and obtain Certified True Copy (CTC) of election materials used in the conduct of the February 23 presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The tribunal also ordered INEC to make available all documents and electoral materials used for the election for the purpose of the inspection.

However request by Atiku and the PDP to carry out forensic audit on materials and polling documents was declined by the tribunal.

Delivering a unanimous ruling on the ex parte motion filed by the PDP Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and the party, Justice Abdul Aboki, held that the applicants’ prayers for scanning, forensic analysis of the election materials run contrary to the provision of section 151 of the Electoral Act.

The court also refused to direct INEC to make available all polling documents for forensic analysis as requested by the applicants.

The court in addition refused to order the electoral body to permit forensic experts of applicants to examine form EC48 and other relevant forms used for the election.

The court noted that the applicants’ lawyer had rightly based his argument on a previous decison of Election Petition Tribunal, but observed that the decison which permit applicants to inspect, to scan for forensic analysis had been overruled by the court because it confers undue advantage on the applicant.