Court Dismisses Suit Seeking to Stop Saturday Elections and Exams

In a recent ruling, the Federal High Court in Abuja has thrown out a suit that aimed to prevent the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from conducting elections on Saturdays. The suit, brought forward by Mr Ugochukwu Uchenwa, a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, also sought to halt the scheduling of examinations on Saturdays.

Uchenwa, an elder of the church, argued that holding elections and exams on Saturdays violated his religious freedom and that of fellow church members. He petitioned the court to declare such scheduling unconstitutional and requested that alternative days, including Sundays, be provided for voting and exams.

However, Justice James Omotosho deemed the suit frivolous, stating that the plaintiff failed to establish sufficient grounds for the court to grant the reliefs sought. The court ruled that there was no reasonable cause of action presented by the plaintiff.

In his submissions, Uchenwa contended that scheduling activities on Saturdays, considered the “sabbath day” by his faith, infringed upon his fundamental rights to freedom of worship, conscience, and education. He insisted that such actions by the relevant authorities constituted a violation of the rights of Seventh-day Adventist Church members in Nigeria.

Despite Uchenwa’s arguments, the court found no merit in his claims and refused to grant the requested reliefs. Among the reliefs denied was an order restraining INEC and other examination bodies from conducting activities on Saturdays without providing alternative options for Seventh-day Adventist Church members.

The ruling marks a significant decision regarding the scheduling of elections and examinations in Nigeria, particularly concerning religious observances and constitutional rights. While Uchenwa’s concerns were brought to the forefront, the court ultimately determined that they did not warrant legal intervention.

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