A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, voided the de-registration of Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) and Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP).
Delivering judgment, Justice Ademola held that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which carried out the action, lacked the power to do so.
Mr. Ademola said INEC could not de-register the three political parties except in accordance with the provisions of the constitution and not any other law.
The three political parties had brought the suit against INEC and the Attorney- General of the Federation challenging the action.
INEC had relied on Section 78(7)(ii) of the Electoral Act, 2010 as amended to de-register the parties.
Mr. Ademola, however, declared that “Section 78(7)(ii) of the Electoral Act, 2010 as amended is unconstitutional, invalid, null and void to the extent of its inconsistency with Sections 1(3), 40 and Sections 221-229 of the constitution.’’
The sections of the constitutions empower citizens freedom of assembly, formation of political parties and pressure groups without hindrance.
Mr. Ademola held that the de-registration of the parties by INEC on the basis of Section 78(7)(i) of the Electoral Act 2010 without fair hearing amounted to gross violation of Sections 36 and 40 and Sections 221 and 222 of the constitution.
“Having heard all parties in the matter, the court hereby nullifies and sets aside the purported de-registration of the plaintiffs as announced by INEC in some national dailies in December 2012.
“The action is illegal, unconstitutional and null and void.
“INEC is hereby ordered to restore the plaintiffs as political parties in Nigeria and to continue to recognise and deal with them as political parties in the country,” he said.
Mr. Ademola also granted an order of perpetual injunction restraining INEC from further attempting to enforce the de-registration policy against the plaintiffs, their offices, properties and assets.