The Abuja division of the Federal High Court has fixed May 22 for hearing in a suit instituted by a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Ugochukwu Uchenwa, seeking to stop the conduct of elections and examinations on Saturdays in the country.
Justice James Omotosho fixed the date, yesterday, after preliminary issues relating to the suit were sorted out.
At the proceeding, the court granted President Muhammadu Buhari and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami permission to regularize their processes filed against the suit……Continue Reading
The granting of the permission followed an application argued by Osasogie Uwaifo on behalf of Buhari and the AGF, who are first and second respondents in the suit.
The court also granted same applications by the plaintiff’s counsel, Benjamin Amaefule and deemed their processes as duly filled and served.
Uchenwa had argued in his suit that conducting elections and examinations on Saturdays violated his fundamental rights to freedom of worship as a citizen and member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. He also prayed the court to declare fixing of elections and examinations on Saturdays as unconstitutional.
In the alternative, the plaintiff asked the court to order the defendants to allow him and other members of his church to vote or take examinations on any other day of the week, including Sundays.
Listed as defendants in the suit are President Muhammadu Buhari, Attorney-General of the Federation, Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), Minister of Internal Affairs, Joint Admission and Matriculation Examinations (JAMB), National Examination Council (NECO), West African Examination Council, (WAEC) and National Business and Technical Examination Board.
In the originating summons, the plaintiff prayed the court to declare that the schedule of elections in Nigeria on Saturdays, being the “Sabbath day” as observed by members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, was a violation of his fundamental rights to freedom of worship.
“It is also a violation of conscience, profession and free practice of faith and right to participate freely in the government of the applicant and that of entire members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Nigeria.
“A declaration that the actions of the 5th to 8th respondents fixing examinations on Saturdays, a “Sabbath day of the Lord” is a violation of the fundamental rights of freedom of conscience, profession and free practice of faith of the members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Nigeria. It is also a violation of the right to freedom of education of the applicant and the members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Nigeria.”
The plaintiff asked the court for an order restraining INEC from further violating the rights of members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church by holding elections on Saturdays.
In the alternative, it asked that the court should order INEC to mark out a different day for the members of the church to participate in their own election if the electoral umpire cannot schedule and hold the elections on a day other than on Saturdays.
He also wants an order restraining the 5th to 8th respondents from scheduling and conducting compulsory public examinations on Saturdays, without making options for members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to write their exams on days other than Saturdays…..Continue Reading