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Court grants Atiku approval to inspect electoral materials, but rejects forensic analysis

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Court grants Atiku approval to inspect electoral materials, but rejects forensic analysis

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal has granted former vice president, Alhaji 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).

Backstory: The tribunal has also ordered INEC to make available all documents and electoral materials used for the election so they can be inspected by the PDP.

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

While delivering the ruling, Justice Abdul Aboki, maintained that the applicants’ prayers for scanning and forensic analysis of the election materials are contrary to the provision of section 151 of the Electoral Act.

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

Justice Aboki said: “After a careful examination of relief sought by the applicants, Electoral Act, and cases decided by this court, it is hereby ordered that leave is granted to bring the application before the pre-hearing session.”

He said, “The first respondent is ordered to allow the applicants leave to inspect and obtain CTC of polling documents to enable them to institute and maintain the petition.”

Additionally, the court refused to order INEC to permit forensic experts of applicants to examine form EC48 and other relevant forms used for the election.

The lead counsel to Atiku and the PDP, Chief Chris Uche SAN, said the purpose of the motion filed by his clients is to help the petitioners institute and maintain their petition at the tribunal.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared President Buhari winner of the February 23 with a total of 15,191,847 as against 11,262,978 by Atiku.

The former vice president and his party, being dissatisfied with the outcome, have presented the matter to the election petition tribunal.

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