Lawyers under the aegis of Christian Lawyers Association of Nigeria (CLASFON) have warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that the 2023 General Elections are free, fair and credible.

The group also called on the judiciary to ensure that it is not used to scuttle the nation’s democratic experience, urging it to shun frivolous lawsuits aimed to derail the elections.

Rising from its President-in-Council Meeting held at Bible Guest House, Ilupeju, Lagos, CLASFON, in a statement made available to CITY LAWYER, said: “As the 2023 elections draw closer, CLASFON calls on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other relevant agencies to take every step to ensure a free, fair and credible election in line with the provisions of the extant Electoral Act. CLASFON enjoins INEC to display the highest level of fidelity to the Nigerian Constitution and the Electoral Act and reject every attempt by political actors to hijack or derail the election process.”

Continuing, it called on the judiciary “to live up to its expectation as a bold, just and independent institution and as the last hope of the common man by acting as a watchdog of Nigerian Constitution and electoral law in ensuring that the will of the people is not thwarted. The Judiciary should be resolute and should not hesitate to dismiss frivolous suits with no value other than to scuttle the electoral process to avoid a repeat of the sad and unfortunate experience of 1993 when the courts were used to prepare the ground for the infamous annulment of the June 12 Election.”

Signed by Prof. John Akintayo and Precious Nwadimuya, CLASFON’s President and National Secretary respectively, the statement also decried the insecurity ravaging the country, saying: “CLASFON is worried about the increasingly alarming and pervasive incidence of insecurity in Nigeria. While commending the efforts of security personnel saddled with the duty of securing Nigeria, CLASFON joins other well-meaning Nigerians and groups to call on the Federal Government to restructure its security architecture.”

It stated that “the Nigerian Government should not merely declare that Nigeria is safe and criticise the travel advisories released by the diplomatic missions of some countries in Nigeria, including the United Kingdom and the United States, but it must ensure that all tiers of government act with caution and take concrete and measurable steps to adequately protect the citizens and other residents of Nigeria. CLASFON calls on all relevant security agencies to brace up and discharge their constitutional and legal mandates since no country can thrive or develop amid insecurity.”

Below is the full text of the communique.

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